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UNC 80 Nevada 73

Very tough game, much more than I thought. I agree with Roy Williams assessment . The Heels were hit the mouth, got into a dogfight midway through the second half and raised the level of their play. Down the stretch UNC's depth became a factor and the Heels made plays late to ensure the win which was Roy's 600th of his career.

Despite the score and the idea that UNC struggled to beat a mid-major there were a lot of positives, especially only eight turnovers for the game. However Nevada is not going to wow people with their defense which may have had something to do with UNC being able to take care of the ball. The biggest positive in terms of player performance was Larry Drew who easily posted the best stat line of his UNC career. Drew had 12 points, 10 assists and only one turnover. Drew also hit two huge threes late in the 2nd half when the Heels were in a back and forth battle. Drew did everything you could possibly ask of him and if that is the Drew that shows up throughout the season UNC will be in great shape. No he is not going double-double every game but something in the 6-7 assists versus 1-2 turnovers with some individual offense sprinkled in will do nicely. Deon Thompson also had a huge game and also stepped up when the Heels needed him. Thompson went for 23 points and eight boards. That and Ed Davis' 16 points, 15 boards and three block gave UNC a huge night on the interior. In addition Nevada Luke Babbitt scored 15 points but did so on 5-17 shooting.

Marcus Ginyard continues to have those little bit of everything games: 10 points, four assists, six rebounds and four steals. And John Henson had some nice moments, so much so, you have to wonder at what point he will start getting more than the nine minutes he got tonight. Henson ended up with seven points, hit a three and swatted a Nevada shot and coming from Carrboro to do it. At this point you have to wonder if he is simply having issues getting into a rhythm.

As for the rotation. We did see signs of Roy Williams paring it down. Leslie McDonald did not play. Travis Wear was limited to two minutes. In fact only six players saw more than ten minutes which strikes me as being a little thinner than Roy likes to run it. Roy indicated he would be looking for production which appears to be basically six guys in earnest. Different matchups are going to affect this. For some reason Tyler Zeller only got 15 minutes but there could be games where he gets more. In this one Thompson and Davis were just so good, he opted to stick with them, especially down the stretch.

Overall, there were some things UNC could do better. The rebounding was not great. Heels ended up with a 45-43 advantage but also gave up 16 offensive boards. Nevada went zone and it obviously bother the Heels. Fortunately Nevada was not as good as Syracuse with their zone so the Heels could find gaps to enter the basketball. Unfortunately when that happened there was a stretch where the Heels missed tons of shots at point blank range. So UNC did struggle with the zone to a point but managed to get by. Again Nevada is not a great defensive team so take it for what it's worth.

Heels get Michigan State on Tuesday. I am betting MSU plays some zone.