If a team can lose a basketball game in the first ten or so minutes, it certainly felt like the case for Carolina Wednesday night. The Tar Heels opened the game in Assembly Hall in Bloomington looking out of sync and clearly bothered by the crowd. Indiana took advantage and managed to pull off the win.
Carolina’s offense never really got into a groove outside of the strong play of Justin Jackson. Jackson scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds on his way to drilling four three-pointers on the night. He was the reason UNC was able to keep the game as close as they did. Unfortunately for UNC, only Kennedy Meeks joined Jackson in double figures for points. Joel Berry had a rough night, shooting 3-13 from the field. He did manage to dish out eight assists, however.
When the Tar Heels go back and watch the film, they will have to kick themselves for the points they left at the free throw line. As a team, they were 13-22 and missed multiple opportunities for points by missing the front end of a 1-1. It was especially frustrating when UNC was able to trim Indiana’s lead to eight points without being able to get over the hump multiple times. The Heels did pull to within four at one point, but could get no closer.
Tony Bradley, Isaiah Hicks, and Meeks dealt with foul trouble, and Hicks ultimately fouled out of the game. To say that it was a sloppy game would be an understatement. The Tar Heels only managed to shoot 39% as a team against a good Indiana team playing in front of a loud crowd. It was not a recipe for success.
It was a frustrating loss, but not one to be ashamed of. Indiana is definitely no slouch of a team and the Tar Heels just didn’t look ready for this one. The good news is that Carolina should have a stretch of games to work out all their kinks before a date with Kentucky on December 17th in Las Vegas.
Oh, the ACC won the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, if that’s something you care about at all. Yay.
UNC gets back to business at home on Sunday against Radford at 2:00 pm.