Tar Heels Blast Past Shaw In Exhibition Opener

Matt SmithSenior Analyst INovember 4, 2007

IconThe Tar Heels opened up their exhibition season with a 114-62 blowout of Shaw University Saturday night.  All-American Tyler Hansbrough led all scorers with 23 points, 15 in the first half alone.

The Heels started out great, but the game became pretty sloppy leading into halftime.  The Heels built a 48-27 lead, and from their on it was game over.  Carolina went on a 38-11 run with about 14 minutes remaining, and never looked back in their rearview mirrors.

Now the game was not primarily about how many points the Heels would score, but to see which players would step up with the loss of last year's lottery pick, Brandon Wright.  Forward Deon Thompson scored 17 and had 10 rebounds and Alex Stepheson also added 10 points for the Heels.  Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson were also in double figures for the Heels, with 12 and 10 points respectively, and the Tar Heels look prime for an ACC and national title run. 

I got to attended this game in person, and one of the things I was looking forward to was seeing redshirt freshman William Graves play in person.  Graves sat out last season, because of the depth of the Tar Heels bench and because he admittedly said he was out of shape.  Graves transformed his body over the summer, and last night played 9 minutes scoring 4 points.  I am excited to see this kid's progression over the season and how he will fit into the Heel's system.

A concern for me last night was the three-point shooting of the Tar Heels.  The Heels shot 2-13 from behind the arc, and both of those came from third stringers.  Ellington was 0-2 from behind the line as well as Bobby Frasor.  Three-point shooting may be an Achilles heel for the Carolina club this season, and they need to become more consistent to get the double and triple teams off of Hansbrough this season.

The Heels have a lot to look forward to this year and played a great game last night.  Their final exhibition game is this Friday in Chapel Hill against Lenior-Rhyne University.