Off the cuff: After getting off to a slow start and barely being able to hang on at the end to an average Davidson team, UNC coach Roy Williams said, "We sucked."
He immediately lamented saying those words as his wife would get on him for being crass.
He said he thinks some of his starters thought it was going to be easy despite being without Joel Berry who is out with an ankle injury. He may be back for the Tennessee game Sunday but it's not a given. So, Carolina has to play with all kinds of situations.
Luke Maye played his best game as a Tar Heel after playing one of his worst.
But if Justin Jackson had not been hot from beyond the arc and if the Heels hadn't gone to the line a lot, hitting most of them, it could have been a loss.
Teams need games like this though. Most Carolina fans will be satisfied with an ugly win over a pretty loss.
Despite the blow out of Radford, UNC coach Roy Williams expressed some frustration about the lack of practice time.
“That’s been hard. I mean it’s steep, because as you said all the travel, New Orleans and Hawaii, in a 13 day period, with seven games in 13 days. A trip to New Orleans, out and back, and a trip to Honolulu in those 13 days, and over to Maui. But practice time, we got back from the Indiana game and I got back home at three o’clock in the morning. So I think we gave them Thursday off, they had to be in class that morning, and everyone made it to class. And then Friday we tried to do some things, and then yesterday all of a sudden you think a little bit about helping your team get better, but you also have to start talking about another opponent. So for us, Monday and Tuesday we will have two good days of practice, hopefully getting ready for Wednesday night.”
Most Caroina players stunk it up at Indiana. That's just a fact. Was it the hostile environment? A fired up Hoosiers team? It was all of that and more.
Especially early, Coach Williams hit the nail on the head when he said, "They challenged us and we backed up."
While Berry had a bad game, particularly shooting, three others really struggled.
Luke Maye, back after missing a few games with an injury, did not look like a Division I basketball player. He missed an open layup, threw up a three that missed everything and generally didn't look as if he could stay up on defense.
Isaiah Hicks, who is relied on more than Maye, shot the ball only four times in the game and took no shots in the first half. He also turned the ball over three times.
Finally, Nate Britt drew a start and didn't take advantage. He missed badly twice in the first two minutes when Indiana raced out to an 8-2 lead. He only hit three of nine shots for the game including just one of four from beyond the arc. Usually reliable to steady the team off the bench, he didn't do much to help - particularly when Berry was out with foul trouble.
There was plenty of blame to go around but this didn't look like the same team that won in Maui.
On a positive note, Carolina didn't quit and fought back to within four points with five minutes to go.
Berry said the Heels just got too far behind. "We missed a lot of free throws (13 of 22) and easy shots (39 percent from the floor) and didn't get stops defensively."
Despite the loss, the Atlantic Coast Conference won the ACC/Big 10 Challenge nine games to five.
By the way, that Thomas Bryant of Indiana seems to be an overzealous hot dog who celebrates every little thing to an extreme. I have a feeling the Tar Heels would like to meet Indiana again. Considering that Carolina won the last 34 minutes of the game, I think the Heels would beat that team eight out of 10 times. Unfortunately, they don't get to play more than once unless it's in the NCAA Tournament.
Carolina Football: Golden anniversary of a redeeming 50-0 victory over Duke.
Carolina Football: Excerpts from an article on the history of the Carolina-Duke rivalry.
Henson Barnes, nation's top high school player, signs letter of intent
Duke hurt most by decision
Tar Heels survive late Davidson run
North Carolina got a lift from its subs and held on despite a late run that saw a 16-point lead dwindle to three as the Tar Heels defeated Davidson 83-74 at home Wednesday night. (12/7)
Carolina was already playing without starting point guard Joel Berry, who is out with a sprained ankle. And then the starters turned the ball over five times in the first four minutes as the Wildcats took an early 10-3 edge. That made UNC coach Roy Williams ill as a hornet and he went to the bench.
The sub lineup of Seven Woods, Stilman White, Tony Bradley, Luke Maye and Brandon Robinson provided a spark. Their 10-0 run put the Tar Heels up 13-10.
"Those subs kept us in the game early," Coach Williams said adding that being without Berry hurt but that it shouldn't be an excuse."
"It was big playing without Joel," UNC's Justin Jackson said. "And some of the guys didn't come out to play."
Jackson wasn't one of them as he kept the Tar Heels ahead with a team-high 27 points including seven three-pointers.
Luke Maye scored a career-high 10 points off the bench with all-around good play.
Carolina led 42-32 at the half after leading by as many as 12 points in the first half. The lead stayed in that area until Kennedy Meeks, who was doubled teamed most of the night, followed his own miss and Jackson hit a pair of free throws to put the Heels up by 16 with 12:46 to go.
The Tar Heels led by 15 at 66-51 following a Kenny Williams with eight minutes left but that's when things got a little hairy.
Runs of 7-0 and 9-0 by the Wildcats cut the margin to just three at 76-73 with 1:51 to go.
But Carolina hit seven free throws down the stretch to wrap it up after going the last 5:27 without a field goal.
"It was not fun tonight," Coach Williams said. "It was as frustrating as I can remember. But we won. We made some free throws down the stretch."
The Tar Heels shot only 38 percent from the floor but they did sink 10 threes and were 27 of 34 from the foul line.
Jack Gibbs, one of the leading scorers in the country, led Davidson with 30 points.
Davidson falls to 5-3 while North Carolina improves to 9-1.
The Tar Heels host a tough Tennessee team Sunday at 5 p.m.
Kenny Williams help Heels shake off first loss
Radford probably didn't relish playing North Carolina in Chapel Hill after the Tar Heels suffered a disappointing loss against Indiana. But the Highlanders probably didn't foresee UNC sophomore Kenny Williams lighting them up from the start. (12/4)
Williams hit four three-pointers in the first five minutes of the game bolstering the Heels to a 20-4 lead. Radford never got closer as the Tar Heels won going away, 95-50.
"We got off to a great start," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "We were active and it just wasn't Kenny's three-point shooting. We were active defensively."
A Kennedy Meeks' left-handed hook down the baseline gave Carolina its largest lead of the first half at 34-9.
Ahead by 24 at the half, the Tar Heels extended the lead to 32 midway through the second half on a Nate Britt three at 71-39.
An 10-2 run late in the game worked the final margin to 45.
Carolina had four players in double figures led by Williams 19 points. Meeks added 13 while Isaiah Hicks added 12 and Tony Bradley contributed 10.
The Tar Heels shot 52 percent including nine of 20 from beyond the arc. Carolina also outrebounded Radford 52-29.
Early in the second half, Joel Berry sprained an ankle and didn't return. The severity of the injury is not yet known.
Radford falls to 3-5 while North Carolina improves to 8-1.
Tar Heels host Davidson Wednesday night at 9 p.m.
Carolina falls for first time after slow start
An aggressive Indiana team, fueled by an enthusiastic home crowd, got off to a quick start and North Carolina could never fully recover as the Tar Heels fell for the first time this season, 76-67. (11/30)
After six minutes, a cold Carolina team trailed by 10 points and after nine minutes the Heels trailed by 17.
"One team played well from the get-go and it wasn't us," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "They were just more aggressive than we were... They challenged us and we backed up."
The Tar Heels missed nine of their first 11 shots, during which time UNC's top scorer on the season Joel Berry picked up two early fouls.
Berry never recovered as he hit just three of 12 shots. The Tar Heels recovered enough to cut it to four in the second half.
"They wanted it more and fought harder," Berry said. "We found ourselves in a hole and we never could dig out of it."
Trailing 41-29 at the half, the Tar Heels cut the margin to eight five times in the first 10 minutes of the second half but couldn't cut into the lead further until time was running down.
A 9-1 run late closed the gap to four with 4:51 left after Berry hit a runner high off the glass. But Carolina came up empty two straight times down the court and Indiana managed to increase the lead back up to 14 before settling for a nine-point victory.
Considering that Carolina lost by nine and trailed by 10 in the first six minutes, the game was lost early.
The Tar Heels seemed rattled early and took ill-advised shots quickly in their possessions.
For the first time this season, Carolina shot free throws poorly - just 59 percent for the game but it was worst than that. In the first half, the Tar Heels missed the front end of one-and-one situations three times and missed twice on a shooting foul.
"At one point we had the possibility of getting 10 points from the foul line and we got one point," Coach Williams said adding that the Tar Heels had gone 12 for 12 during a similar stretch in Maui.
For much of the game Justin Jackson was the only offense for the Heels as he scored 21 points. Kennedy Meeks was the only other Carolina player in double figures with 10. Meanwhile Indiana had five players in double figures.
No. 13 Indiana improves to 5-1 while No. 3 North Carolina falls to 7-1.
Tar Heels return to Chapel Hill to host Radford Sunday at 2 p.m.
© 2015 CB3media Cary, NC
Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. At the request of readers, he has kept up his journal of each game ever since. He also has written about UNC baseball and wrote an analysis after each 2008 UNC football game.
Editor's Note: HeelPrints chronicled the UNC basketball, baseball and football seasons for 2008 and 2009. Since the vast majority of comments I get about the site relate to basketball and since this isn't a paying job for me, I decided to limit my coverage and analysis to basketball. Baseball and football will remain archived and if I have comments or opinions I want to make on those or any other sports at UNC, I will make them here on the front page and then archive them in the corresponding sports section. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received about the site. Should I get sponsorship in the future, I will reconsider adding baseball and football again. Ironically, my favorite sports to watch in person are baseball and football. But my first connections to UNC came from watching Dean Smith's basketball teams on TV or listening to them on the radio in the days before all the games were televised. It should come as no surprise that people pay more attention to the basketball coverage. Thanks for your interest in this site.