UNC got off to another slow start in this one before stepping up their level of play and rolling over UNCW 84-51.
In reality both teams did not distinguish themselves in the annals of great basketball to start the game. At the first TV timeout it was 3-0 UNC and UNCW was 0-11 from the floor. The Tar Heels were a little mistake prone and the shots were not falling. After a fairly even struggle to play decent basketball by both teams, UNC pushed out to a 31-16 lead with a minute and a half left in the period. UNCW then produced their best stretch of the half, a 7-0 run, to cut the lead to eight at the break. Even then the Seahawks only managed 23 points. The clear issue in the first half was the Tar Heel offense. UNC shot 40% in the first half and had nine turnovers.The offensive execution wasn't crisp and that was mostly related to shot selection.
"First half also, we didn't shoot the ball well cause we took bad shots," said head coach Roy Williams afterwards. "Three or four different times or probably four or five different times we had someone shoot the ball when their teammate had a better shot. We talked about that at length at halftime about being more unselfish and getting a better shot."
In the second half UNC raised the level of play on both ends. The offense was more efficient as was the ball movement. The Heels shot 62% after halftime and had 16 assists on 22 made field goals. Part of that stemmed from the Tar Heels getting out in transition more. J.P. Tokoto threw down a couple of eye-popping dunks. One came on an alley-oop from McDonald and another where he took off with a foot on the right block. James Michael McAdoo also had his share of highlight dunks on his way to an 11-14 shooting night and 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The eleven made field goals were a career high for McAdoo and the double-double his 2nd of the season and 11th of his career.
Marcus Paige shook off a slow start to tally 15 points. Leslie McDonald and Brice Johnson each had 14 points. Johnson, after struggling in his two starts at center, came off the bench and returned to form. Kennedy Meeks got his first start at center and his first three touches included a turnover, getting stuffed and missing a layup. Meeks finished the game scoreless going 0-3 with 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers in 16 minutes.
While Meeks struggled the other two freshmen played well. Nate Britt had six assists and zero turnovers. Isaiah Hicks played 17 minutes scoring seven points and grabbing four boards. Hicks also hit his first three of the season but said afterwards that he didn't realize it was a three when he took it. Hicks progression as the season has worn on is a nice sign for the Tar Heels heading into ACC play.
-Four Tar Heels had at least three assists. On the game UNC had 20 assists on 34 made field goals.
-Marcus Paige has seen his minutes reduced with the return of Leslie McDonald for a second straight game Paige was at or near the 30 minute mark and came out of the game with five minutes left.
-UNC finishes non-conference play at 10-3 with three wins over ranked teams and three losses to non-ranked teams though it should be noted Texas is presently ranked.