Heels keep it casual in victory over Colonels

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ESPNU — North Carolina rolled through an extremely over-matched Nicholls State team tonight at the Dean Smith Center, toppling the Colonels 99-49 despite not playing especially well.

The Tar Heels held every tangible advantage in the contest, most noticeably on the backboards: Carolina out-rebounded the Colonels 72-35. Some teams don’t reach 72 points in a game, so irrespective of opponent Roy Williams had to be pleased with his club’s effort in what has a been a problem area this season.

You can bet that Williams experienced great frustration over his team’s poor free throw shooting, however. Carolina hit just 21-for-41 from the foul line, an excruciating percentage and one that suggests the Heels weren’t completely dialed into the game.

The Heels’ three best offensive players, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller, combined for just 9-for-28 shooting. Given that their poor shooting and the team’s free throw difficulties still netted a 50-point victory, any further description of the contest would be redundant.

If there’s a benefit for the Heels competing against such a limited opponent, James Michael McAdoo’s play provides the evidence. McAdoo hasn’t performed up to expectation this season, and Roy Williams recently has begun saying as much. A McDonald’s All-American out of high school, the freshman has appeared tentative inside and mechanical shooting the ball.

Against the Colonels, however, he played 17 minutes and scored 14 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Carolina will need him to provide valuable backup minutes against stronger opposition, so perhaps he’ll gain confidence from this outing going forward.

For fans, the good news is that UNC hosts Texas just two days from now. The Longhorns embarrassed Carolina two seasons ago and won a heartbreaker last year in Greensboro, but they’re down this year and UNC no doubt expects to deliver payback.

Click here to view the UNC/Nicholls State box score.

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