The North Carolina Tar Heels came close but fell short in an attempt to knock of highly regarded Virginia, losing 71-67 at the Dean Smith Center on Saturday.
Here is a look at the good and the bad of UNC's eighth loss in 13 games this season and third in four Atlantic Coast Conference games.
Kris Lang – Lang finally appeared to be near full health as he scored 18 points (6-9 from the floor) and blocked three shots. He was also a force defensively and was quicker than he has been in a month.
Jason Capel – Capel had a tough shooting day but still managed 14 points. But his floor game was exceptional as he grabbed nine rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals. Anyone that still questions his desire to win after this game is clueless.
Jawad Williams – Williams was on fire in the first half scoring 11 of his 13 points. He was 5-7 from the floor including a trio of sweet 3-pointers with beautiful form. He was also a bit more aggressive but still lacks toughness inside and gives his opponent quality position on the blocks too often.
Adam Boone – Boone didn't connect from the field and had no assists in 32 minutes of action but he did an excellent job of pushing the ball up the court against UVa's pressure defense and made sound decisions on the perimeter. His defense on UVa freshman guard Keith Jennifer was also very solid.
Jackie Manuel – Manuel only scored five points but did register seven rebounds and handed out four assists to go with just one turnover. It was his best floor game despite a few late mistakes. He certainly made progress.
Melvin Scott – Scott rebounded well after a pair of dismal performances handling the ball. He finished with four assists and only one turnover and made solid decisions with the ball. He also had a nice game defensively.
Transition defense – The Heels did an excellent job of getting back on defense and limiting the fast-breaking Cavaliers' transition opportunities.
Matt Doherty – Doherty had the team extremely well prepared to handle the Cavaliers' difficult pressure defense. UNC's spacing and patience was excellent and the Heels appeared relaxed. Considering how awful the Heels were against Wake Forest and Maryland, this was impressive. UNC was also prepared defensively and the zone worked well against UVa's halfcourt offense.
Will Johnson – Johnson took just one shot – and missed – had no rebounds and just one assist in 13 minutes of action. One of the team's best perimeter shooters, Johnson needs to be more aggressive with the ball and take some open shots. Otherwise, his playing time will continue to decrease, as it has the last few games.
Brian Morrison – Morrison had four assists and zero turnovers in the first half and drained three quick 3-pointers early in the second half but he also turned the ball over four times in the final 15 minutes and made poor decisions in the open court. It wasn't an awful performance, but if Morrison is to get the minutes so many UNC fans feel he deserves he mustn't give Doherty reasons to limit his playing time. Saturday was a prime example.
Jackie Manuel – The negative to Manuel's day was the pair of fouls he committed on UVa stud Roger Mason Jr., the ACC's leading free throw shooter. UNC players said Doherty told them not to foul Mason but Manuel still did twice in the last minute and Mason connected on all four freebies. He is only a freshman, but if he is to get crucial minutes he must perform to warrant those minutes.
Late turnovers – The Heels coughed up the ball way too often late in the game, especially in the open court. The Tar Heels made just three field goals in the last eight minutes of the game. One reason was blown opportunities.
Rebounding – Carolina was outrebounded 23-11 in the first half and 11-2 on the offensive end. Had they kept the Wahoos off the glass a bit more in the half the outcome could have been different.
The Tar Heels travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on the Florida State Seminoles on Wednesday. Game time is 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a nightly radio show on WAAV-AM980 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.