Updated: Jan 5, 2020
It was a frustrating night to say the least for North Carolina, as Ohio State came into the Smith Center, and ran the Tar Heels out of the gym 74-49. It was the worst home loss under Roy Williams, surpassing the loss last year at home to Louisville. Armando Bacot exited the game early in the first half, and never returned which completely bogged down the Carolina offense, and made life easier for the Buckeyes defense in the half court. Cole Anthony was the only player to reach double figures, scoring 15 points on 4-15 shooting. For the game the Heels managed to shoot an abysmal 27%, only connecting on 17 baskets. Ohio State controlled the glass, winning the battle of the backboards 48-32. The inability to grab misses, made it even tougher for this team to generate any offense, which it desperately needs.
There aren't many times you see or hear a dejected Roy Williams in the post game presser, but tonight was one of those occasions. The Hall of Famer had no answers for what's wrong with his club, while blaming himself for the loss. We were able to learn a lot about this team while in the Bahamas, tonight also provided another valuable learning lesson for the season. 3 takeaways from the loss to Ohio State:
1. Lack of Fight in 2nd Half: You wouldn't have thought they trailed only by 2 at halftime, and by 3 early in the second stanza if you judged them by their body language. For a team that showed up against Oregon ready to battle for 40 minutes, they sure didn't have the same competitive spirit for this game, There haven't been many times you'll see Carolina quit, but this unfortunately is one of those instances. Even after the Blue Steel entered the game, and provided a spark, the starters had no desire to play off the energy that was created. Usually when this happens you question a team's toughness, if this doesn't test their toughness, then it's a lost cause.
2. Owned on the Glass: This was evident from the beginning that Chris Holtman had his team ready to rebound at a high level. The Buckeyes established a early margin in the rebounding department, and it never relinquished. The 48-32 rebound margin, was more than enough for the visitors to control the game for most of the second half, as Carolina couldn't get it's valuable second chance points.
3. Shooting Woes Continue: We got accustomed to seeing the ball go into the basket at a premium rate the last couple of seasons. All that shooting ability has them either overseas or in the developmental league for the NBA. Christian Keeling & Justin Pierce were highly regarded shooters coming out of the transfer portal, and both were expected to contribute at a higher level. While Pierce has produced at time, Keeling still appears he doesn't belong on the floor with ACC caliber talent. The Heels obviously failed to reach 80 for the eighth consecutive game, and was nowhere close to shooting 50%. Cole Anthony & Brandon Robinson can't be the only reliable three point shooters this year, it's imperative that another Tar Heel steps up in a big way.
Up Next: Carolina doesn't get any breaks as they travel to Charlottesville to play #5 Virginia Sunday afternoon. The game is scheduled to tip off at 4, with ACC Network broadcasting this ACC affair.
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