Carolina got out to a slow start before the subs came in and breathed life into the Heels. The Heels recovered from the early deficit and held a small lead for most of the first half before Temple tied it at 26 with under six minutes to go in the first half. A Kennedy Meeks jumper followed by a Joel Berry three put Carolina up again before the Owls tied it again at 34. Carolina went on a 13-2 run with the bench unit to close out the half with with an eleven point lead 47-36. Nate Britt nailed two threes as part of that run and the Heels' bench unit (Berry-Britt-Pinson-Hicks-Joel James/Meeks) was by far the best group that played in the first half.
Carolina came out in the second half with a commitment to playing better inside on offense and defense. The Heels had three blocks in the first four minutes of the second half. The Heels also scored down low in the second half much better than they had in the first. Meeks added 11 points in the first five minutes of the second half. The Heels kept the lead at about 11 points for most of the second half before breaking it open to lead by 18 with 6:11 left. The Heels then coasted to end the game with a 24 point win.
The Heels got good production from their guards in this game despite no Marcus Paige. Berry and Britt were 8-13 combined in the first half, 4-4 from 3 and had 22 points at the break. Berry started at point guard but the Heels were at their best when the two played together. Nate Britt was not much of a slouch either, recording 15 points on 8 shots.
Justin Jackson and Brice Johnson played very poorly in the first half and were each hampered by foul trouble. Johnson picked it up in the second half to end with 16 points and 10 rebounds. But Justin Jackson disappointed for the game's entirety. Jackson played only seven first half minutes due to foul trouble and looked lost when he was on the court. He missed his man on defense multiple times in the first and second half. Jackson missed all but one of his floaters in the lane and his only first half points were off of an offensive rebound.
Some quick points:
Theo Pinson looked out of position when he was playing the 2 and was much better and looked much more confortable when he was allowed to play the 3. He adjusted in the second half and looked better. Pinson also impressed as a shooter, going 2-3 from three.
When the Heels did give up offensive rebounds, their defense was really poor. The Heels did not find their men again and Justin Jackson looked particularly rusty.
Kennedy Meeks set a career high with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks with only one turnover. Meeks was the most impressive big man by far in this game.
Nate Britt was the most impressive player in this game. Britt went 5-8 on the game and 3-4 from three.
Brice Johnson slammed home a Joel Berry miss with 52 seconds left and started an altercation when he wrapped his leg around a Temple player's head. Britt was ejected from the game for leaving the bench while trying to hold Johnson back.