[Editor’s Note: You may have noticed that since Zeke now lives in a country that is, unfortunately, 5 time zones removed from Chapel Hill, the site has been falling down on the job a bit when it comes to Carolina-related recaps and commentary. Well, we’re hoping to change that: Please everyone welcome friend of the site and new contributor Rob Weldon, who will be giving us UNC news from the sunny confines of California. Take a quick gander at Rob’s bio here, then read some his thoughts on the UNC-Clemson slugfest below.]
Lord, the heels have used up all their pretty basketball since the first half of the Duke game. In honor of the return of the ugly ACC win (a la Virigina, VT, Miami), this column has been written in an ugly, tardy manner. Actually, winning another tough road ACC game was another sign of growth by the Heels. As one of those slow timeout- and foul-riddled last minute games, this young team was able to gain some more valuable experience. Littlejohn Coliseum has always been a difficult atmosphere and it was no different this year.
One could argue that the ugliness of the game was a result of impressive defensive play by both teams; however, I don’t think so. Kendall Marshall played at least 35 minutes again today for the 3rd game in a row since Drew II peaced out. His stat line - 18 points, 3 assists and 3 turnovers - is very deceiving. He had his moments, certainly 10 important free throws at the line, but I can’t believe he was only credited with 3 turnovers. Some brilliant plays were undermined by a rash of classic freshman mistakes.
The good news all game long was that Clempsun looked pretty horrific on the offensive end. They were rarely granted easy paths to the basket or uncontested jumpers, so that’s good. Still, ugly. Carolina’s inside guys were solid, but not nearly as important as they were during the Duke game. Henson came through with another double double along with his usually impressive inside defense. In the end, though, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall really carried the team in the waning minutes. Barnes had a helluva posterizing dunk and, as mentioned, Marshall was a stellar 10-11 from the free throw line.
Tonight the balance was not apparent as four starters scored in double figures and only two other players even scored. Using Bart Matthew’s airtight statistical analysis, if you take out the top two scorers for the heels they would’ve only scored 26 points. and if you take out the top four scorers, the heels would’ve lost by 60 points! i love that statistical analysis. (you got it: the game was so ugly i’d rather make unfair quips about Bart’s unfair statistics in other games).