Yesterday, a struggling North Carolina team took on a highly skilled and athletic UNLV team. Coming into the game, Carolina had not beaten a quality opponent yet this season.
20th ranked UNLV would be their final shot to show the nation that they can play with the big boys and that is exactly what they did.
For the first time all year, UNC brought defensive intensity and it paid off. UNLV struggled to score for mostly the entire first half while Carolina was racking up steals and fast break points.
Carolina was able to bring that same intensity for mostly the entire game, but did lose it at spurts allowing a 15 point lead to evaporate over time.
Now Coach Roy Williams can use that as a learning tool. He can now prove that when you come out and bring it on the defensive end, it is going to keep you in games, but also it will lead to better offense.
Another positive from the victory, was the balanced attack UNC brought on offense. Second leading scorer and the team’s best 3-point shooter, Reggie Bullock did not play for Carolina and that forced his teammates to step up and contribute.
Five players scored double figures, including P.J. Hairston who replaced Bullock in the starting lineup. Now Carolina knows they have multiple players who can score productively and when Bullock returns, that is only going to add a lethal threat.
North Carolina needed a win yesterday and got it while showing that they can be a scary team to play come March.