For some reason the basketball god’s simply won’t allow North Carolina to beat Texas in basketball. To make matters worse, they allow Carolina to lose in heart breaking fashion almost every time they play the Longhorns, as was the case with the 69-67 loss to Texas in the Maui Invitational final in Asheville. The loss dropped Carolina’s overall record to 3-9 against the Longhorns, and Roy Williams has only beaten Texas once since returning to Chapel Hill.
For the game, the Tar Heels only put three players in double figures scoring, led by Garrison Brooks season high 18 points. As expected, offense wasn’t easy to come by against the physical and athletic Texas defense. Carolina shot just 41% from the field, and an even worse 11% from behind the three point line. More worrisome is the issues this team is having at the foul line, as they were just 18-32 on their freebies. They did a great job getting into the bonus early in the second half, but failed to make Texas pay for their excessive fouling.
It’s only the fourth game of the season, and Carolina usually looks out of sorts in the non-conference season, but that doesn’t excuse the way they played in the first half. While you love the fight they played with after falling down by as much as 16, Roy Williams isn’t here for moral victories.
This is where the loss hurts the most, because if Carolina makes 70% of their freebies, they win the game. But they didn’t, they failed to take advantage of getting the opponent in foul trouble. Every starter missed at least one foul shot, as they combined to only 16-26 from the charity stripe. It wasn’t the best showing for this group all week in the mountains, and they’ll need to regroup before a difficult road trip to Iowa City next week.
Three Point Shooting:
Carolina entered the game shooting just 30% from behind the three point line, and they didn’t help their numbers today. Carolina was just 1-9 from behind the three point line, and that lone make was by Kerwin Walton. Caleb Love was 0-4 and R.J. Davis was 0-2. Carolina is going to need them to make perimeter shots moving forward, to help take the pressure of Garrison Brooks & Armando Bacot inside.
The Tar Heels inability to contain the dribble surfaced in the game against Stanford, but Texas did a better job taking the Carolina dribble off the bounce. While you expect Love and Davis to make mistakes, you don’t expect Leaky Black and Andrew Platek to do as frequently as they did tonight. Overall, Carolina’s defense was good enough to win them the game, as they held Texas to 42% shooting from the field, but containing the dribble will be a point of emphasis defensively moving forward.
As was the case last night, Carolina’s tenacity on the backboards kept them in the game, while they were stuttering on offense. Tonight they won the rebounding battle, 50-32, including bringing in 20 offensive rebounds. Garrison Brooks said in the preseason he expected this team to be the best rebounding team in college basketball, they definitely looked the part in Asheville.
Or lack thereof. Carolina’s offense at times has been way too stagnant. A lack of ball movement, and player movement in general. The Tar Heels only had 6 assists in the loss, a relatively low number for a Roy Williams coached team. It’s not too often that the Tar Heels are more impressive on the defensive end of the floor, but here we are. Expect the offense to grow as the young players continue to adapt to the college game.