UNC got back on track in impressive fashion against Radford on Sunday. In their first action since the loss to Indiana plenty of Tar Heels got back into a groove as UNC stormed to a 45-point victory over the Highlanders. The highlights will likely keep most Heels fans happy on their morning commutes, but there is also some cause for concern as UNC preps for Davidson this week.
Plenty will be written about Kenny Williams' break-out performance, but it has to be mentioned. Williams finally had the game that UNC fans have been praying for—a 19-point performance on 7 of 10 shooting (5 of 6 from behind the arc). At one point KWill had outscored the entire Radford team. In fact, he was playing so well, for the first time all season Nate Britt subbed in for Joel Berry as the back up point guard instead of for Williams at shooting guard.
Shooters need to shoot. In order to shoot, they need to play. Williams continued to make his case for increased playing time.
Youth is Served
Tony Bradley, Seventh Woods, and Kenny Williams all played 20 minutes or more. The nature of the blowout was one factor, but all three players were also producing. They weren't empty minutes handed out just to gain experience.
Bradley earned his second double-double of the season. Williams added 5 rebounds and a steal to his scoring outburst. Woods struggled with five turnovers but did add 9 points and two steals to the box score. Even Luke Maye started getting back into a rhythm with six rebounds in 14 minutes.
This was the right game at the right time to "level the bubbles" and relax before a tough stretch against Davidson, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
So far this season, the Heels have struggled to consistently get off to fast starts. More than once, they have relied on their depth and talent to eventually wear down their opponents. That changed on Sunday.
Much like the way Indiana blitzed UNC last week, the Heels were off and running before Radford even took off their sweatpants. Initially led by Kenny Williams, UNC was up 12-2 by the first media timeout. When the horn sounded for the second media timeout, the score was 28-9.
From there, Roy's squad slowly extended their lead and squashed any remaining hopes Radford may have had.
Joel Berry's Ankle
Just as everyone will talk about Williams' career game, the focus quickly shifted to Joel Berry's ankle. Early in the second half Berry rolled his ankle as he attacked the rim. He instantly came up lame and was sent to the locker room.
The severity is unknown, but all signs point to a sprained ankle. An MRI will provide more insight. Considering the stretch of games coming up, UNC can ill-afford to lose Berry for an extended period of time. Already missing Theo Pinson on the wing, Berry is as close to an indispensable player as UNC has.
Fortunately, Berry is as tough a player as there is. If there is even a slim chance that he can play, he'll suit up later this week.
UNC is shooting 72% from the foul line for the year. However, they struggled for the second game in a row, shooting only 62% against Radford and making 18 of the 29 they attempted. North Carolina has struggled to find consistency at the line during the Roy era, but the first seven games of the season pointed to a positive reversal of that trend.
As a general rule, many teams use 70% as a reasonable goal for team free throw percentage. For perspective, last season, UNC was 27th in the nation with a 74% success rate. Hopefully the past few games have just been an anomaly.