The Longhorns' offensive woes — they shot just 35 percent, and were shooting 25 percent at the under-eight timeout — started on the first possession, when Texas ran the wrong play. The Longhorns shot a whopping 25 three-pointers, making nine of them, but received just 10-for-26 shooting from its four frontcourt players, Jonathan Holmes, Alexis Wangmene, Clint Chapman and Jaylen Bond.
"We didn't put any pressure on them at all," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "We were just settling for threes. We shot 25 threes and had nothing in the mid-range game because we just didn't execute.
"Not to take anything away from North Carolina, but we never gave ourselves a chance from the beginning," Barnes said.
Of course, the problem with playing North Carolina is that those wasted possessions were then often turned into fast-break opportunities the other way. The Tar Heels raced out to a 39-23 halftime advantage and never looked back, with the Longhorns trailing by more than 20 at multiple points in the second half.
Part of the problem had to do with the Longhorns not having full access to their point guard. Myck Kabongo tweeted several hours before the game that he wasn't well, and that he was 50-50 to play in the game. He played, but only spent 15 minutes on the court, committing more turnovers (four) than he had combined points, rebounds, assists and steals. After the game, Kabongo revealed that he's been having back problems, but said he should be fine in the future.
Harrison Barnes scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes for the Tar Heels. John Henson had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Reggie Bullock chipped in 12 and six off the bench. Kendall Marshall dished out nine assists to two turnovers, and Tyler Zeller had eight points and 11 boards.
Holmes, J'Covan Brown and Sheldon McClellan each scored 16 for the Longhorns, though Brown took 18 shots to get his points. Texas was out-rebounded by the taller Tar Heels 49-34, with North Carolina actually grabbing more offensive boards (22) than the Longhorns had defensive rebounds (17).
Carolina upped its record to 11-2 with the win. Texas fell to 9-3 with the loss. The Longhorns have just one more non-conference game, a Dec. 31 contest vs. Rice, before heading into conference play against Iowa State. Tip for the Rice game is set for 1 p.m.