Tar Heels drub Deacons, 87-62
Almost 15 minutes into the first half, North Carolina finally brought out the worst in Wake Forest’s good-at-home, bad-on-the-road split personality Tuesday night.
Leading by just six, the Tar Heels finished the last 5:27 of the period on a 15-1 run to go up 20 at the break en route to a 87-62 ACC victory before less than a full house at the Smith Center.
The lopsided win came a game after the Tar Heels (16-6, 6-3) trailed Virginia Tech most of the way before winning in overtime.
“We wanted to come and be more aggressive and have more energy than them and I think we responded well,” UNC guard Dexter Strickland said. “This was a motivation game. It shows how aggressive we can be.”
The deciding spurt ironically began when the Deacons (10-12, 3-7) came up with a steal by C.J. Harris and had a chance to cut the margin to four.
But Harris threw the ball away, triggering a Carolina fast-break that ended in a Reggie Bullock layup.
Wake then came up with a steal on the Tar Heels’ next possession but turned it back over, setting up a bucket by Brice Johnson to stretch the margin to 10.
The Deacons never recovered as Carolina scored on 6 of its remain seven possessions of the half, the surge capped by Reggie Bullock’s 3 as time ran out. Wake’s only point during the blitz was a Devin Thomas free throw.
Wake was shaky with the ball from the start, committing 13 first-half turnovers that resulted in 18 Carolina points in the first 20 minutes.
“We just didn’t take care of the ball,” Wake guard C.J. Harris said. “That was on us not being strong enough with the ball.”
Wake finished with 21 for the game, resulting in 26 Tar Heel points.
“I think 18 points off turnovers in the first half was the story,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
Wake coach Jeff Bzdelik said that taking care of the ball was emphasized in practice.
“It’s something that we worked on, obviously we did a terrible job of that,” Bzdelik said. You give a team that many easy baskets, it leads to a high shooting percentage and shatters the confidence of our team.”
The easy baskets helped UNC shoot 62 per cent in the first half. The Tar Heels finished at 51.6 percent for the game but were 31 of 51 and right at 60 percent before missing 11 of their last 12 shots.
Reggie Bullock led Carolina with 23 points and James Michael McAdoo had 20, the first time both scored 20 or more in a game this season. P.J.
Hairston, who missed the Virginia Tech game because of concussion symptoms, was cleared to play before the game and added 11.
Williams said Hariston would likely have been cleared to play on Sunday but came down with a virus and could not be tested.
Arnaud Adala Moto led Wake with a career-high 13 points. C.J. Harris had 12 and Devin Thomas 11. The Tar Heels held forward Travis McKie, who was averaging 15 points, to a season-low five.
“We just came out and laid down,” McKie said.