UNC-Maryland: The Good & the Bad

For just the third time in the 91-year history that the University of North Carolina has played basketball, it has lost 15 times in a single season after the Maryland Terrapins left the Dean E. Smith Center with a 92-77 victory on Sunday night.

Here is a look at the good and bad of UNC's 15th loss in 21 games and ninth in 11 Atlantic Coast Conference contests.


Jawad Williams – Some teammates said they were waiting for Williams to explode. They don't have to wait any longer. The Cleveland, Ohio, freshman had career highs in points (21), rebounds (11) and assists (five). He battled hard on the glass and displayed his many offensive skills. Could this finally be a breakthrough game?

Kris Lang – Lang was a monster inside scoring 19 of his 23 points in the second half despite being constantly pounded by Maryland's deep and brute-like frontline. He also continues to carry himself like a true leader and gentleman after games when speaking with the media. Lang understands where this team stands and is most concerned with the development of the younger players.

Brian Morrison – Morrison coughed up the ball three times to go with a pair of assists but he played under control and appears to have broken some of his reckless habits. He did launch an ugly three in the first half with about eight seconds left on the shot clock but also put 10 points on the board in 20 minutes.

Adam Boone – Boone dribbled with his head up and facing the defense more than he had in the previous few games. He had a couple of impressive penetration moves and scored eight points while turning the ball over just twice.

Banging – The Tar Heels didn't back down from the physical Terps. Williams and Lang did their part but so did senior Brian Bersticker, who played as physically as he has all year. He was very active in the paint and gave the Heels 12 solid minutes, scoring six points, grabbing four rebounds and blocking a shot.

Free-lance – Matt Doherty decided to let the team free-lance a bit more on offense, telling them to have fun and sort of play pickup ball but with Carolina principles. It worked as the team was more relaxed and had better movement, more screening, sharper cuts, crisper passes and more than usual the Heels met passes better. They still got stuck in the corner too often and at times had terrible spacing, but they clearly needed to do something different, and this, even if only for a game, was a brilliant move. Ultimately, however, they will need to be able to run their stuff.

Effort – Carolina's effort was there all night. The Heels didn't play hard on Wednesday at Wake Forest and made a point of playing with pride on Sunday.

Fans - UNC's fans were terrific. They made noise throughout and continued to encourage the team. The students were fantastic when chanting "Tar Heels" late in the game and when they gave the team an ovation as it exited the floor.


Perimeter defense – Maryland was 8-16 from 3-point range with at least 10 of the attempts uncontested. The Heels did a sound job defending the paint after the first eight minutes, but did not react well when the Terps kicked the ball out to the perimeter and rotated the ball. Their three main guards combined for 16 assists.

3-point shooting – The Heels were just 4-18 from beyond the arc, including a 2-7 performance by Morrison. UNC, however, was 26-48 on two-point field goals.

Assists men – Kudos to Jackie Manuel and Williams for registering five assists each. The problem is that UNC's usual assist men, Jason Capel, Morrison, Boone and Melvin Scott, combined for just six assists in 92 minutes.

Manuel/Johnson – Manuel and Will Johnson continue to produce little. Although Manuel had five assists – a rarity for the 6-foot-4 freshman - he finished with no points on 0-3 shooting in 19 minutes. Johnson also went scoreless, missing his only field goal attempt in 13 minutes. The two combined for just three rebounds as well.

Ninth loss – For the first time ever, the Tar Heels have lost nine ACC games in a season. Only once before had UNC lost as many as eight in the 1963-64 season, Dean Smith's third as head coach.

Fifteenth loss – For just the third time ever, UNC has 15 losses in a season. The Heels lost 15 times in the 1950-51 and 1951-52 seasons.

Officiating – Capel's final two fouls were poor calls. He didn't made contact on either foul. And his lack of playing time (18 minutes) and early disqualification – with 10:27 left – hurt the Heels' chances at a comeback.


The Tar Heels quickly hit the road to face Virginia in Charlottesville on JP Sports. Game time is 8 p.m.

Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is 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.

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