[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 his recap of Carolina’s BC thrashing below.]
Boston College came into the game unbeaten in conference games at home with some quality wins and the second leading scorer in the ACC. Reading the scouting report suggested some problems to come for UNC – namely BC has some quality guards, experienced players and an affinity for the three-pointer.
And what happens? Carolina fans swooning, that’s what. The Tar Heels steadily and systematically remove their opponents’ joy for basketball for the second game in a row, clobbering BC with a final score of 106-74.
Freshmen wings Reggie Bullock and Harrison Barnes both enjoyed a great game. Reggie began the show with three straight three-pointers at one point in the first half while Barnes continued to build on the swagger he showed against NC State, scoring 26 this time. Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Justin Knox all had great showings in the post for the Heels. Zeller managed several excellent steals on the perimeter and then finished the plays with solid veteran decisions to either wait and retain possession or push the tempo when Carolina had numbers (although every time he has a breakaway, dark and horrid spectres remind me of his freshman game against Kentucky that resulted in a broken wrist). Henson continues to delight with his gangly offensive form and ensuing gangly faces that remind me of a kid celebrating his eighth-grade graduation. Knox, on the other hand, is a man. When he breaks from his typical been-there-done-that rebounds and elbow jumpers, you may just catch him double pump three defenders on the way to an ‘and-1’.
In the backcourt, UNC’s two-headed point guard monster of Kendall Marshall and Larry Drew II directed the half court and appropriately led the fast break. Drew collected 9 assists while only having one turnover. Marshall even nailed a fast break 3! Finally, Dexter Strickland, we have not forgotten you. In 23 exhausting minutes you chased Reggie Jackson all over the court. Accruing three rebounds, four assists and four points doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the fouls that really tell the story: four. You just barely stayed in the game, but you clearly made life hard for Jackson. He shot 2-10 from the field and finished with only six points. Another statistic: Strickland strongly disagreed with four fouls, which appears tops for the game.
Overall, it has to be noted that Carolina’s team defense behaved as if it had thoroughly scouted the BC team. The perimeter players pressured their shooters and the passing lanes, while also checking back for the backdoor cuts. Not only was the defense well organized, the players executed skillfully and intelligently. Props to the planning by the coaches and performance of the players!
Apparently, this was the first time a team had scored 100 points against BC in, like, millennia. This was the largest road ACC win for the Heels since Raymond Felton wasn’t underrated (that’s 6 years!). It was such a huge win that Dan Bonner, never a man of hyperbole, even called UNC a “juggernaut”. BC is (or maybe “was”) projected as an NCAA team and Carolina beat them by 32 points on the road. In the snow!
Turns out, the universe knew all along. Ten years ago to the day, a now wildly famous Joseph Forte brought the pain to Dook in Cameron. Ah, I’ll never forget my freshman year’s singed eyebrows and melted shoe soles that resulted (those burning cars and couches weren’t going to jump through themselves!).
Anyway, back to this game: I just don’t know exactly what to make of these past couple games. The Carolina basketball that has taken place since our 2009 Championship has been a tough relationship. Just when we start to develop something good, it’s evaporated just as quickly. I feel like someone replaced my girlfriend with an identical copy of her that’s just a whole lot more perfect. I’m not sure what to make of the new girlfriend, especially since she was a really terrible drunkard last week. “Are you for real? And will you stay off the bottle please?” Do we let ourselves freely love this new sober version? Or do we distrust because we’ve been burned before?* Oh… And look, just in time for Valentine’s!
*Apologies to State fans—this must feel like a relatively luxurious worry.