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#1 Carolina 78 Wofford 58

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Carolina beat Wofford by 20 in Chapel Hill.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

After Wofford took a very early 3 point lead the Heels raced back in front. The rest of the first half was up and down as Carolina kept a lead of a few possessions for the vast majority of the period. After about ten minutes of game time the Heels' offense lost its early rhythm. Carolina had established a fast early tempo by pushing the ball up the floor on every possession. The Heels also put the ball into the post on nearly every first half possession. Once the Terriers got into a better groove themselves, the game quickly became much more competitive. Wofford pulled the deficit to only one with under three minutes to play before the Heels scored the final four points of the half to lead 34-29 at the break.

The Heels started the second half strong, growing their lead in the first few minutes before Wofford cut it to 4 at the 15 minute media timeout. However, the Heels turned it on after the break with a solid series of defensive possessions. Wofford did not score a point per minute for the rest of the game. Carolina turned Wofford over multiple times including key steals from Nate Britt to help the Heels pull away. The big men also did their part on offense with Meeks, Johnson and Isaiah Hicks all hitting double digits in this game as Carolina scored 50 points in the paint for the contest. With the Meeks, Johnson, Pinson, Berry, Britt lineup, Roy Williams seems to have found his current closing group as they guided the Heels down the stretch and helped Carolina pull away for a comfortable 20 point win.

Analysis:

Joel Berry and Justin Jackson have continued to struggle with off-ball defense. Berry plays very good on ball defense but tends to ball watch when he's not the primary defender. Jackson has been very twitchy on defense all season and continued that in this game. Jackson has been lost on defense when on the weakside. His man has beaten him on backdoor cuts, he's been lost when asked to run around the floor, he's been screened easily and he tends to end up a good 40 feet from his man.

Both Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson were excellent. The two Carolina bigs were the Heels' most consistent players on both ends of the floor in this game. They rebounded well and were effective offensive focal points in the contest. Meeks and Johnson were unguardable for an undersized Wofford team that could not compete with either player. Johnson did pick up his cheap foul per half in each period of this game but avoided foul trouble on the whole for the first time all season.

The defensive rebounding in this game was much better and the Heels played their best defense of the season. Carolina showed active hands and really throttled Wofford in the second half. Carolina created their transition offense off of steals and that sustained their first half lead. In the second half Carolina created multiple turnovers via shot clock violations and cleaned the defensive glass to eliminate second chance points. Carolina had 11 steals and 6 blocks in this game. If the Heels keep that defensive effort up they will be formidable indeed when Paige comes back.

Theo Pinson had a quiet game but still stands out as an impressive player full of potential. Pinson showed dynamism off the dribble with Carolina's best penetration in the half court while also playing good defense at both the two and the three. Pinson has shown to be a great jack of all trades player on defense while showing flashes of becoming a special player on offense. If Pinson keeps developing, he could become the best Carolina small forward/shooting guard since Danny Green (and maybe surpass green, he's a much better athlete).

Joel Berry was a real leader on offense in this game. He pushed the pace at every opportunity and created offense for himself and the team in general. Berry has been an excellent creator in transition and semi-transition and in this game rather than hunt for offense and points as he had in the first two games, he took what the defense gave him. At the same time, when he drove the ball, he was aggressive and did not shy away from contact. Berry has stepped up and really shown a lot of development while Marcus Paige has been out and should really help propel Carolina down the stretch this season.

Statistical Highlights:

Berry: 16 PTS 6-9 FG 0-2 3PT 4-4 FT 2 REB 4 AST 3 TO 4 STL

Meeks: 16 PTS 8-15 FG 0-1 FT 8 REB 0 AST 5 TO 1 BLK 1 STL

Johnson: 16 PTS 7-12 FG 2-2 FT 14 REB 0 AST 1 TO 2 BLK 2 STL

Pinson: 2 PTS 1-3 FG 2 REB 3 AST 1 TO 2 BLK

Jackson: 5 PTS 2-8 FG 0-3 3PT 1-3 FT 2 REB 4 AST 0 TO 1 BLK 1 STL

Britt: 7 PTS 3-5 FG 1-2 3PT 0-1 FT 3 REB 2 AST 1 TO 2 STL

Hicks: 12 PTS 4-5 FG 4-6 FT 4 REB 0 AST 0 TO 1 STL