Overall a better played game by the Heels with the exception of 2nd half turnovers and more missed free throws in one game than Tyler Hansbrough had all last season. Outside of that UNC used their significant size advantage to dominate the boards and take all but four shots inside the three point arc. Deon Thompson had a huge night with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Tyler Zeller posted 16 points and Ed Davis had another double-double with 15 and 13. Once again Roy Williams was extremely liberal with his substitution pattern playing 10 Tar Heels at least 10 minutes each. During his postgame remarks, Roy indicated the rotation would tighten up implying he would moving towards more minutes for players who produce. Roy also made use of some different combination such as Dexter Strickland at the two alongside Larry Drew. Chances are we will see more experiments link this.
While it is easy to dismiss this game as only being Gardner-Webb it is important to remember that this team very much needs to crawl before it can walk. The offensive execution was much better which is a product of the opposition to some extent. On the flip side a young team needs to have games where they are successful within the framework of the offense they are learning. It will be nice for them to see game film broken down and some of the right things they did be a focal point. In short, if you cannot execute against the Gardner-Webbs of the work then chances are slim you can do the same against elite teams. The Heels took a few steps in the right direction by playing well on the offensive end. That and four straight days of practice hopefully will aid this team's development as they host a very good Nevada team on Sunday.
And this business with GWU's Grayson Flittner going Drew Barry insane? Yeah, for some reason all of these low major teams have that one kid who can end up hitting a bushel of three pointers from anywhere on the court despite being guarded. Granted it makes the defense look like crap for one player to score 32 points on 9-16 from three point range. However the overall effort in terms of what the team did was very good. GWU only shot 37% from the field, committed 22 turnovers and had an offensive rating of 87.0. UNC has three blocks and 11 steals in the process. Setting aside one player, it was a solid effort on defense for a team that is skilled on that end of the floor.
With the six day break, part of that without classes, the team gets some serious time to focus on basketball. Combine that with Roy's inclination to tighten the rotation, the match-up with Nevada will likely be a noticeable shift towards what UNC will look like heading into the middle of the season.