Just one day after losing 2012-13 leading scorer P.J. Hairston forever, the North Carolina Tar Heels were faced with a tough test against the 4-8 Davidson Wildcats.
The Tar Heels have been cursed at the free-throw line as of late, shooting just 51 percent against the Texas Longhorns in their last game, in which they were defeated by the score of 86-83. In the matchup against Davidson, they shot 72 percent from the line, but did not seem to give a 100 percent sense of urgency until the five minutes of overtime.
The team’s maturity has been in question since day one, with only four seniors on the roster. The young Tar Heels have been inconsistent to say the least. Of course, the team showed its mature side against top teams in the country, including Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky, but failed to show such success against the unranked programs of UAB, Dayton and Texas.
In regulation, the Tar Heels struggled to perform with the desired sense of urgency and maturity levels. A key example came at the end of the first half when forward James Michael McAdoo, to say the least, body slammed Davidson guard Jordan Barham shortly after Barham committed a flagrant foul on McAdoo.
McAdoo was a projected first round draft pick during his freshman year at UNC, but has failed to play as an NBA caliber forward throughout his career, and now as a junior, he still has not shown scouts that he has the tools, physically or mentally to play at the next level. Luckily, sophomore forward J.P. Tokoto picked up the slack with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.
Also, Marcus Paige had short term memory loss with his mediocre scoring performance in regulation, and scored 11 points in the five minute overtime period. Even with his mishaps at the free-throw line and with his emotions, McAdoo finished the game with 19 points, but improvements must be made in order for the young Carolina team to be successful in ACC play.
Although the final scoreboard read 97-85 in the Tar Heels’ advantage, nothing about their performance showed that they were deserving of a 12 point victory.
Paige was not the stellar point guard that he has proven to be throughout the season thus far, and McAdoo must obviously work on his foul shooting.
If Tokoto can continue to be a little more of a deep threat, and make plays on the defensive end, then the absence of Hairston will not be much of a factor moving forward. Also, every Tar Heel fan is waiting for Leslie McDonald to make a larger impact after being reinstated just one game ago, but with nine points off the bench, it is only a matter of time until everything clicks.