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A Breakdown Of UNC's Unraveling In Atlanta

I also enjoy having my toenails ripped out and then pouring a lemon/salt mixture on the open wounds.

Dane Huffman at WRAL Sports Fan does us the service of reviewing the tapes of the UNC-GT game and providing a breakdown of the crucial first half stretch that utterly doomed UNC. I have emphasized a key sequence for discussion.

Here’s a rewind:

@ With Tech ahead 17-15, Carolina plays tough defense throughout the possession but the Jackets’ Brian Oliver hits a long jumper to make it 19-15 with 10:38 to play.

@ UNC’s Will Graves misses a long three-pointer from the left corner, but Leslie McDonald snatches the rebound and makes a quick pass to Deon Thompson right at the basket. But Thompson’s layup rolls out.

@ Next possession: McDonald has the ball on the wing and is watching Thompson. He thinks Thompson is ready for a pass but instead Thompson is coming to set a screen. McDonald throws the ball to Thompson and Tech easily intercepts.

@ Next possession: Larry Drew has a turnover on a wild pass. Still, it’s only 19-15 Georgia Tech and Carolina is in the game.

@ Next possession: A lazy pass by Drew is tipped by Mfon Udofia, who zooms downcourt and is fouled from behind by Drew. Udofia makes the free throw and it’s 22-15 Jackets.

@ Next possession: Strickland is stripped and he makes a wild foul on the sideline. Zachery Peacock makes one free throw for Tech.

@ Peacock makes a long jumper over David Wear to make it 25-15, Jackets.

@ Drew loses the handle on the ball for another turnover.

@ Wear hits a free throw for UNC, and Derrick Favors follows with a strong basket inside for Tech. Then Drew has his best moment of the game, driving and banking in a tough shot while being fouled.

Drew misses the free throw and Henson grabs the rebound. But in a telling moment, Henson tries to make a short pass back to Drew and throws it too hard at Drew’s chin. The ball skips out of bounds for another turnover.

Drew turns and starting walking up court, and television cameras show him not looking back as Henson speaks to him. Then the cameras switch to Roy Williams, who was on the bench with his head in his hands. Williams speaks to assistant Steve Robinson and then looks down to tie a shoe.

It’s still just 27-18 Tech, but the deluge is about to begin.

@ Tech’s next possession is a killer. Glen Rice hits a three-pointer to make it 30-18.

@ Drew comes back for Carolina with a nice feed to Justin Watts, but Watts misses a three-pointer. Oliver hits two free throws for Tech and the Jackets are up, 32-18.

From then on, the game is what you’d expect. Tech, sensing a chance to knock out UNC, goes to a full-court press. Favors gets a monster dunk on a great bounce pass and then Tech’s Maurice Miller scores on a drive after he fakes a long shot and Drew overruns him.

That has Williams calling time-out with 5:15 left in the half, but by then, the game is over.

In a previous post someone commented that Larry Drew needed to be a leader. Here is a perfect example of Drew not leading. Yes, Henson made a bad pass but Drew has to get past that communicate with his teammate so they are both on the same page. Chemistry issues of the "we have not played much together" variety are fairly obvious. This sort of scene is the chemistry issues of the "we really do not get along" variety though it could have been just one incident.

Much of this debacle is predicated on the same crap seen all season. There are missed shots, inexplicable turnovers as well as GT getting good looks which they take full advantage of on a regular basis. Still, it was not like GT made a fast run, UNC had chances to see saw the score a bit and keep it close. The problem was the inability to score on the other end either via poor shooting or terrible decision making with the basketball.

Oh and missing free throws is one area we probably don't discuss enough. Those are free points. Points that could keep the margin in check. Essentially you can add miss FTs to the turnover total.