UNC finished up their non-conference schedule Wednesday night with a 77-57 win over Harvard. The Tar Heels forced 22 turnovers by the Crimson and held their leading scorer to under double digits, but despite the 20-point margin of victory, Coach Roy Williams says this team still has work to do heading into league play.
“I love seeing five guys in double figures. I love that we did a better job of getting to the foul line and not fouling them. In the first half they shot 11 free throws and we shot 5. In the 2nd half we shot 17 and they shot 2. We attacked the basket more. We went to try to do something different and that helped us, but we didn’t do a good job of fronting the post, so we have some work to do. Stuff is over now. It’s big time basketball in front of us and we’ve got to play better.”
Harvard hung with UNC the majority of the first half – keeping the deficit to under 10 points until a layup by Kenny Williams with 8 seconds remaining in the first period put the Heels up by 10 going to the break.
Harvard outscored UNC 3 to 8 to open the 2nd half, cutting the lead to 5 points with 16:24 remaining in regulation, before a 16-1 UNC run shut the door on their upset hopes completely.
“We did a lot of good things defensively in the 2nd half,” Luke Maye said after the game. “We really pressured the ball; only gave up 26 points. We made them shoot a poor percentage, but there at the end they got some easy baskets and some of that is on me, but I think heading into ACC play we’re moving in the right direction.”
Moving in the right direction is positive, but Roy Williams knows the ACC is arguably the toughest league in college basketball and if the Heels want to be successful they’re going to have to improve in certain areas.
“We’ve got to get better defensively. We’ve got to stop turning the ball over and we need to rebound the ball better. We’ve got to play with out brains a little bit more.”
UNC will open up league play at Pittsburg Saturday.
- UNC Scoring Leader: Luke Maye 14
- UNC Rebound Leader: Nassir Little 7, Luke Maye 7
- UNC Assist Leader: Coby White 4
- Points Per Possessions: Carolina .93 (77 points on 83 possessions); Harvard .70 (57 points on 82 possessions)
- The Tar Heels are 10-3 this season, including 7-0 at the Smith Center.
- Carolina forced 22 turnovers (tying the second most by an opponent this year) and out-scored Harvard, 21-9 in points off turnovers.
- Nassir Little (12 points) scored in double figures for the second game in a row and shared the team lead in rebounding with seven. It was the first time he has led UNC in rebounding and the seven rebounds tied his season high.
- Sophomore forward Sterling Manley did not dress due to a sore left knee. His return date is unknown at this time as he continues to undergo medical evaluation. Manley had played in all 49 games as a Tar Heel (37 last year and 12 this season) prior to tonight’s game.