Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson are not done yet.
I will give these two credit for this much. They gave it their all to keep the season going.
With UNC playing in Carmichael for the first time since 1986, the Heels very much lived up to the history of the building, especially in the first half when they staked a ten point lead. Unfortunately, like the Georgia Tech game last week, the Heels let off the gas and allowed the Tribe back into the contest giving up a deluge of three point shots, 43 in all of which W&M hit 16. Despite the Tribe rallying to take the lead, UNC found a way. Thompson stepped up his game to score 20 and pull down eight rebounds while Ginyard had 12 points, four assists and five steals.
The difference maker down the stretch was better perimeter defense, a couple of timely steals from Tyler Zeller and Dexter Strickland hitting four straight FTs to erase a three point deficit to give the Heels the lead for good. UNC closed on an 11-0 run and scored 80 points for the first time in 2010. Yes, you read that correctly.
By no means was it a perfect effort and there were still maddening moments. Doc and I actually watched the game together at an undisclosed secure location. There was still plenty to be frustrated with to the point we were both a little shocked when some things went well. There were also signs of life, especially from Dexter Strickland who I thought was more confident and aggressive than he has been in quite some time. Likewise, Larry Drew looked very much in control dropping six assists versus only two turnovers. For the most part the offense simply looked better though far from the level we all have become accustomed. The defense was not great and that was expected since (1) this version of the Heels has major defensive issues and (2) W&M is an extremely difficult team to prep for and defend given the funkiness of their offense. Given those factors, the defense was not all bad and they made steals when it counted.
The win ensures UNC cannot finish below .500 for the season. The Heels now travel to Mississippi St for a Saturday noon game where I am fearful Jarvis Varnado might eat John Henson.