FSU-UNC: The Good & the Bad

For the first time in 49 days, the North Carolina Tar Heels walked off the Dean Smith Center floor with more points than its opponent after defeating Florida State, 95-85, on Sunday. Here is a look at the good and the bad of UNC's seventh victory in 23 games and third in 13 ACC battles.

GOOD

Adam Boone – Every so often Boone has a game where he makes up for his physical disadvantages with heady play and incredible perseverance. He scored a career high 28 points while dishing out six assists with just a single turnover on Sunday in what was the most impressive performance by a Tar Heel this season. A shaky ballhandler, he has an excellent jump shot with nice form and near perfect rotation. While one shouldn't expect this type of performance on a regular basis, Boone has given UNC fans a reason to look forward to his continued progress.

Kris Lang – Lang has provided needed senior leadership by remaining positive and giving maximum effort at all times. He tallied 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and had a career high four assists while forcing FSU center Nigel Dixon to the bench with five fouls in just 19 minutes of action.

Jason Capel – Capel finally appeared to play with a clear head for the first time since his concussion, which occurred days before the first FSU game. He finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Personally, he had been through a lot over the last month and the smile on his face after the game told an obvious story.

Melvin Scott – The freshman from Baltimore connected on five field goal attempts and played with confidence in scoring 13 points. He handed out a pair of assists but did turn the ball over three times. Unlike in the Maryland game where he hesitated to shoot when open on the perimeter, Scott pulled the trigger on Sunday.

Role players – Everyone contributed. Jawad Williams (six rebounds) was aggressive and didn't back down from physical play. Brian Bersticker chipped in four points and didn't leave his feet too soon when his man made an offensive move. Jackie Manuel's defense was solid and a reason he was on the floor late in the game. Will Johnson had four points and three rebounds in 14 minutes. His put-back and free throw was a sensational play. Brian Morrison only played six minutes but was aggressive on defense and has been the case in recent weeks, was patient on offense (the early shot was a quality look).

Matt Doherty – Doherty has his players' ears and has them enjoying the game again. The motion offense is an improvement over the many sets that just didn't work and he is having more success with his substitution patterns of late. Last Tuesday, he used a zone defense to get back into the game. On Sunday, the Heels played primarily man-to-man. His confidence in the players has increased since the loss at Wake.

Motion offense – The Heels have cut down on their turnovers since Doherty switched to a more motion-oriented offense. The players are more relaxed and see the floor better. There is less dribbling and more cutting, screening and fewer hurried shots. The Heels didn't commit a turnover in the last eight minutes of Sunday's contest and had just 13 for the game – many of which occurred while in the zone offense – to 22 assists.

Shooting - The Heels were 31 of 56 (55.4 percent) from the field, including a sizzling 10 of 20 from beyond the arc. UNC was an amazing 16-24 (66.7%), including 7 of 10 on 3-pointers in the 55-point second half.

Fans – Credit most Carolina fans for remaining behind their team through this terrible season. The 17,055 fans at the FSU game were terrific. They were loud, supportive and were into the game from the outset and most stuck around for the conclusion. This might be the only school in America that would draw as many fans to a game between two schools with a combined 5-19 mark in league play entering the game.

BAD

Zone offense – The Heels struggled once again against a zone defense. There was little movement without the ball, poor ball movement and rarely did the Heels get the ball to the high post, which is essential in their approach. FSU, however, didn't stay in the zone, which is a big reason UNC won. It's a wonder all teams don't exclusively play zone against UNC.

Easy looks –The Heels were aggressive in their man-to-man defense, extending pressure on the ball further from the basket than earlier and overplaying more. Yet they allowed too many open looks due to a lack of foot speed and were slow to react to help beaten mates. As a result, FSU shot 53.2 % (33-62) from the field despite hitting just 7 of 19 3-pointers.

Defensive boards – Carolina allowed FSU to snag 13 offensive rebounds. Considering how hot the Seminoles were and the extra chances they had, it's incredible FSU didn't win.

UP NEXT

The Tar Heels host non-conference foe Ohio University of the Mid-American Conference on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN2.


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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