CHAPEL HILL/SMITH CENTER — The North Carolina men’s basketball team survived a ferocious onslaught by the formidable Blue Hose of Presbyterian.
Or, take two, the Tar Heels rolled past an embarrassingly overmatched opponent. Of course, the 103-64 win for Carolina reveals the true nature of this contest, one that was scheduled to fend off rust while the Heels navigate final exams and prepare for a showdown against top-five Texas in Dallas next weekend.
There were two major subplots in this game not related to action on the court:
Senior Marcus Ginyard complained about pain in his foot — and he missed last season due to foot injuries — so the team sat him as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, guard Dexter Strickland tweaked (official diagnosis) his knee in practice, and he has suffered through a history of relatively minor knee injuries. Thus, he was held out as well.
The second story to emerge was somewhat bizarre. A Presbyterian fan sitting in the UNC section above the Carolina bench mildly taunted Deon Thompson during his free throw attempts. An enraged Roy Williams wheeled around and had the fan escorted from the game, drawing a quizzical response from various fans and media members.
(You can read more about the incident here.)
On the court, the Tar Heels ended the game competitively in the opening minutes, and they carried a 56-21 lead into halftime. Ed Davis led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Deon Thompson added 19 points and six boards.
Larry Drew continues to man the ship effectively, scoring 12 points, and tossing out nine assists with only one turnover. Even struggling freshman forward John Henson got into the act, finishing just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
In all, the Heels shot 54 percent from the field and held a 48-26 rebounding advantage. This was a blowout’s blowout, and the fans inside the Smith Center — already maligned this year by Williams — actually were more vivacious than one may have expected under the circumstances.
To see the carnage in box score form, click here.