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Off the cuff: Having only listened to the Valpo game on the radio in the parking lot of Washington's FedEx Field while savoring an unexpectedly impressive win by the Redskins, I haven't as much to say about the Heels' victory over the Crusaders. However, I would say that the young Tar Heels are going to have sloppy games like that and that they need them as well. The young guys are seeing early that it's not all rainbows and puppy dogs. They'll show intensity and urgency and focus against ranked Ohio State... or else they'll draw the ire of Coach Roy Williams - and they certainly don't want that.


Heels 88, Crusaders 77
UNC looks shaky in victory over Valpo

Despite the fact that North Carolina shot 56 percent, out-rebounded its opponent by 19 boards and had four players score in double figures, UNC coach Roy Williams said the Heels 88-77 home win over Valparaiso was "pretty ugly." (11/15)

"We have no chance in New York if we play this kind of basketball," Williams said referring to the 2K Sports Classic, which begins Thursday with a game against 16th ranked Ohio State.

Williams said the Heels made "silly" turnovers and lacked intensity and urgency as they squandered a 24-point lead in the second half.

Carolina never trailed but could not pull away from the Crusaders in the first half as the Heels went into the lockerroom with a 38-31 lead. Spurred on my numerous short turnaround jumpers by Deon Thompson, who scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the second half, the Tar Heels upped the margin to 24 at 67-43 midway through the half.

Valpo chipped away with backdoor layups and three-pointers, most of which came from Brandon Wood, who finished with a game-high 30 points. With two minutes to play, the Crusaders had cut the lead to single digits but the Heels were able to hold on.

Ed Davis finished with 16 points for the Heels, who improve to 3-0, while Larry Drew had 13 and Tyler Zeller chipped in 12.

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