North Carolina seems to play one good half of basketball every game. They can never string together two solids halves of basketball and that continued yesterday, but in the first half, Carolina showed just how good they can be.
Carolina’s flawless first half allowed them to get out to a 22-point lead and even with a terrible second half, Carolina held on for a 10-point victory, but that’s not the story.
The Tar Heels have been lacking defensive intensity, point guard play and consistent offense from their best two players all season. In the first half, North Carolina showed that they have all of those tools.
A team that has only played a couple of halves of good defense the whole season against inferior teams, finally played a great half against a good team and I mean a great half of defense.
North Carolina was able to force 15 turnovers which led to 14 points in transition for the Tar Heels in the first half. That is basically a free 14 points that they got just from playing good defense. Also they only allowed Maryland to record two assists in the first half which means they weren’t allowing easy baskets off the dribble-drive and didn’t allow for the Terrapins to get in any flow on offense.
Maryland was only able to get off a third of the shots that North Carolina was able to get off and the Tar Heels held 7 foot 1 inch center, Alex Len to only four points in the first half. If you shoot three times the amount of shots as the other team, you are going to win the game.
Reggie Bullock only outscored the entire Maryland team by one point in the first half. Yes, he outscored Maryland by himself. Bullock was in the zone yesterday, scoring the teams first eight points and 21 total in the half. His teammate, James Michael McAdoo chipped in with 11 points in the first half in route to his double-double.
Bullock and McAdoo were being fed the ball by Marcus Paige and company the whole game. One of the top teams in the country when it comes to assists was back at it again. Fourteen assists on 23 made field goals with seven of them coming in transition is pretty darn good. If you move the ball around on offense your going to get the ball into the hot hands and that is exactly what Carolina did in the first half.
Carolina proved they have the talent to be one of the best in the country when they play to their potential, but they need to play to that ability for the whole game. They can’t afford to struggle in the second half and lose intensity like they did yesterday.
If there was one weak spot for Carolina yesterday, it was their bench. The bench combined for only 11 points on 5-20 shooting which can not happen. The bench has been pretty good all year for the Tar Heels so that shouldn’t be a major concern.
Don’t count out the Tar Heels yet.