North Carolina Basketball: Tar Heels Post Eye-Popping Numbers in Blowout
If you were to take a glance at the UNC box score from Monday night's 99-49 route against Nicholls State University, a certain set of numbers would jump off the page at you (not including the final score).
Not all of these numbers are impressive, though. In fact, it's hard to distinguish between which are more jaw-dropping, the good ones or the bad ones?
Even though UNC faced a 4-8 NSU squad, just as a team can do plenty of bad things in a matchup like this, they can also do some good things, too.
First "good" number to acknowledge:
That's how many rebounds UNC brought down in their overwhelmingly dominant performance on the glass, which was the most out of a Tar Heel team since 1956 (78).
Thirty-one of those boards were offensive, ranking second all-time in school history, and 31 points resulted from them.
I don't care who you're playing, that's just nuts.
John Henson and Tyler Zeller led the way with 11 rebounds each, and Reggie Bullock grabbed 10, making it the first time since 2010 that a UNC trio recorded 10 or more rebounds (Henson, Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard NIT semi-final against Rhode Island).
Second "good" number to acknowledge:
Which were more eye-popping stats?
UNC forced 23 turnovers tonight, and although, as previously mentioned, it was against NSU, it's still reassuring to see a consistent defensive effort for 40 minutes.
Carolina did have defensive lapses here and there, but they weren't nearly as bad as they have been in games past.
Their concerted defensive harassment led to a number of fast break opportunities, which Kendall Marshall took full advantage of in route to finishing the game with seven assists.
Third "good" number to acknowledge:
Again, yes, it was NSU, but UNC played Appalachian State Saturday night, yet they still allowed the Mountaineers to pour in 82 points against them.
That's downright embarrassing and I'm sure Coach Williams let the team know that, in a more professional manner, of course.
That was just an atrocious game defensively for the Tar Heels. They got complacent early and that couldn't have been more evident than in their defensive effort, or lack there of.
But tonight, UNC, despite starting off painfully sluggish (didn't score their first basket until three minutes into the game), got up early on NSU and put them away for good not long after. And even though Carolina scored 99 points, they sealed this game with their lock-down defense throughout.
First "bad" number to acknowledge:
That's the number of free throws Carolina missed tonight out of 41 attempts.
I'll let that marinate for a second.
Twenty missed free throws from the most-favored team to cut down the nets in April, on their home floor, against NSU.
You can't be serious.
But alas, Carolina apparently is.
There are two things you can never, ever take a night off from in basketball.
The first is defense. The second is free throws.
And Monday UNC looked like they were simply shooting foul shots as a means of getting them over with to "get back to playing the game."
Newsflash Carolina: Free throws are a part of the game. A huge part.
This is far from their first offense, too. UNC is currently 255th (now that I think of it, that could be its own "bad number to acknowledge") in the country in free throw shooting.
To put that into even greater perspective, UNC is ranked 22nd in the country in field goal percentage (49.3) and 14th in the country in three-point percentage (41.2).
Yet they can't knock down better than 65 percent of their free throws. I don't know whether to be pissed off or depressed about that stat.
Reggie Bullock had his own take on the poor free throw performance:
“I think it’s just more mental,” Bullock said. “Coach is always talking about stepping up to the free throw line, making big-time plays and knocking free throws down. We shot poorly from the free throw line tonight. I think it’s just more mental, so we’ve just got to get our reps up on our free throws and be able to knock them down when game time comes.”
If it is mental, then just figure out how to knock them down.
Second "bad" number to acknowledge:
That's the percentage UNC shot from three-point range on Monday. Out of 19 attempts Carolina connected on just four of them.
Thanks to a remarkable offensive rebounding performance, UNC was fortunate enough to have a number of second chances from all those missed threes.
But a number of their attempts from behind the arc were wide-open and just shouldn't have been missed.
Maybe the players figured they didn't really need the three much so their wasn't as much concentration on their end. Or perhaps they were just shooting threes for the sake of convenience.
But I do know there are nights where UNC can look like the 14th-best three-point shooting team in the country and there are nights, such as Monday, where they couldn't look farther from it.
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