Brice Johnson and the UNC freshmen combined for 29 points in the Tar Heels' first exhibition victory. ROBERT WILLETT
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina started its first exhibition game slowly but a dominating game-ending run propelled the Tar Heels to an 81-54 victory against Shaw on Friday night.
Here's the game story.
And here's a look back at our first real look at UNC:
Why UNC won: Well, aside from the fact that the Tar Heels were playing against Shaw, a Division II team from the CIAA conference, the Tar Heels won thanks to their impressive play during the final 14 minutes. With the game tied at 44 with about 14 minutes remaining, UNC went on a 23-0 run to seize control.
P.J. Hairston sparked the run offensively with eight points in a span of about two minutes, and the Heels increased the pressure defensively and the pace offensively. It seemed only a matter of time before UNC went on that kind of run, and it finally happened about six minutes into the second half.
James Michael McAdoo led the Tar Heels with 16 points, and every scholarship player received at least seven minutes of playing time.
--Most everything was good during the final 14 minutes. The Heels outscored Shaw 37-10 to close the game. During that decisive 23-0 run, Hairston scored eight points and freshmen Joel James, Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson all scored. Defensively, UNC forced four turnovers during that run.
--James. Overall it was a good night for all the freshmen, but James stood out most of all. He finished with 13 points – second-most on the team – and seven rebounds. He made 6 of his 7 attempts from the field. Not bad in only 17 minutes of playing time. With James on the floor, UNC outscored Shaw 41-9.
--The second-half defense. After allowing Shaw to shoot 5-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half, the Tar Heels held the Bears without a 3-pointer during the second half. Shaw shot just 25.8 percent during the second half, and UNC turned many of those misses into transition opportunities. UNC outscored Shaw 18-6 on fast-break points.
The not-so good:
--The final score offers a not-entirely-accurate portrayal of game’s competiveness. There were eight lead changes and four ties, and keep in mind Shaw and UNC were tied with 14 minutes to play. It never really felt like UNC was in any trouble, but it did feel like the Tar Heels shouldn’t have had to struggle so much.
--Free-throw shooting. UNC finished just 14-of-26 from the free throw line, and were 6-for-14 during the second half. As well as James played overall, he was just 1-for-6 from the line. Reggie Bullock and Desmond Hubert were a combined 0-for-5.
--Perimeter shooting. UNC coach Roy Williams said often last season that he thought the Tar Heels were a good shooting team, but they never really showed it. He said tonight that he thinks this can be an even better team from the outside but, again, UNC didn’t show it. The Heels made just 3 of their 16 3-point attempts. Hairston, though, did make two of his final three 3-point attempts.
Stat to remember: 23-0. The Tar Heels’ 23-0 run in the second half broke the game open, after it had been tied.
Player of the game: James Michael McAdoo. He led three UNC players in double figures with 16 points. He also added eight rebounds and three steals.
Quotable: “I thought it was really a good night for us. I even liked it when they took the lead there, because I think those are the kind of things we’re going to face all year, so I liked the way our guys responded.” –UNC coach Roy Williams