Working stiffs throughout the Triangle owe a thank you to UNC's men's basketball team. The Tar Heels, who didn't tip off until 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday night against Oregon, effectively ended the competition by halftime and cruised to a lopsided 98-69 victory in the semifinal at the Maui Invitational.
Oregon was determined to run with UNC, and in fact they were run right out of the Lahaina Civic Center.
As he did on Monday, senior wing Danny Green again led the way for the Heels, drilling five three-pointers in the first half en route to 21 points on a torrid 8-12 from the field. As he has done throughout the early season, Green contributed in a multitude of areas against the Ducks. His line included eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Green is playing so well, in fact, that one wonders how Roy Williams will handle the starting lineup when fellow senior Marcus Ginyard returns to the lineup next month. Ginyard essentially started ahead of Green last year, but so far this season Green has been the team's best overall player.
It's difficult to imagine Green will be demoted to the bench, yet Ginyard is regarded by many — and most importantly, Williams — as the club's best individual defensive player. Hmmm. …
Along with Green, Tyler Hansbrough shot 12-14 on free throws largely comprising his 16-point effort, and freshman forward Ed Davis notched his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Still, it was anything but a basketball clinic Tuesday night. Before a sparse crowd of 1,829 at the Smith Center, the Tar Heels started out so sluggishly that Coach Sylvia Hatchell benched her starters in the game's second minute.
Not that it mattered. Despite the turnovers and poor execution, Wofford was even worse, struggling to get off shots against the Heels' smothering pressure. The visitors finally got on the board with 13:36 to play in the first half, on a pair of free throws that made the score 14-2. That was as close as the Terriers of Spartanburg, S.C. would get. The score was 50-14 at the half, 96-42 at the finish. Point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid led all scorers with 15 points.
The Heels were coming off an 80-79 victory over then No. 2-ranked Oklahoma in Norman, and it's hard to assess them in a sloppy follow-up against an obviously overmatched opponent.
One point worth noting, however, is the continuing strong play of freshmen Chay Shegog, She'la White and Laura Broomfield, who combined for 32 points. The 6-foot-5 center Shegog scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 17 minutes. Against Oklahoma Sunday, she tallied 12 points and 6 boards in 14 minutes.
Here's the box score.
Carolina's senior linebacker Mark Paschal sustained a cervical spine injury, according to Tarheelblue.com.
Paschal was injured in the NC State game Saturday and had an MRI Sunday. The medical staff recommended he not play any more football due to the risk of further injury.
"Our sports medicine staff has assured him and his parents that he will make a complete recovery," Butch Davis said. "Mark has had a terrific senior season, has been a great leader for us, and is on track to graduate in May."
This is a huge blow not only to Carolina's defense but also for his future. Not many experts would have projected Paschal to be drafted highly in the NFL, but this injury will prevent any chance of a pro-football career. Paschal was UNC's leading tackler this season and has been an anchor for the Heels.
Update: Paschal has written an open letter to the Carolina community, which can be seen here.
The No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels continue to aspire toward the heights reached by the 2005 team. That outfit won the 2004 Maui Invitational en route to capturing the national championship the following spring, and this year's Heels aim to punctuate their Thanksgiving week in similar fashion at the 2008 Maui event.
As the top seed of the eight-team, three-day tournament, UNC feasted on host team Chaminade 115-70 on Monday night. The Silverswords — a Division II program not to be confused with the numerous elderly men who attend the Lahaina tournament each year — are the annual patsy of their own event, but given the amount of money they rake in for that privilege, no pity is warranted.
Well, maybe a little. After a couple minutes of ragged play, UNC pieced together its most impressive stretch of the season offensively. Even without Tyler Hansbrough, who sat out with an ankle injury, the Heels used their superior size and athleticism to ring up points in easy fashion.
The Silverswords spent a lot of time admiring the back of Ty Lawson's jersey, as the junior point guard blew by his opponents in transition to score 19 points on 7-9 shooting, while also handing out six assists against no turnovers. As a tandem, Lawson and freshman backup Larry Drew II contributed 13 assists and just one giveaway.
That efficiency extended into the frontcourt, where junior forward Danny Green scored a career-high 26 points to accompany seven rebounds and three assists. After a few quiet games to begin the year, Green finally showed the offensive spark the team had begun to rely upon late last season.
UNC's semifinal test figures to be significantly more difficult. The Tar Heels battle Oregon on Tuesday night, a club that pummeled Alabama 92-69 in the opening round. If they win, the Heels will play for the title on Wednesday night against either Texas or Notre Dame.
Here's a link to the box score.
Here are a few pictures from the UNC-Chapel Hill at UCSB game, which the Tar Heels won 84-67.
The Tar Heels trounced Chaminade Monday 115-70 and face Oregon at 9:30 p.m. tonight.
Photos are courtesy of Tom Land.
Butch Davis had this to say today in response to O'Brien's comments that NC State is the best program in North Carolina.
“Last Saturday they were the best football team; there’s no question about it," Davis said. "I think that before you, before anybody can anoint themselves, I would say that there probably needs to be some time invested into the programs, and then we’ll see what happens.”
O'Brien's squad has beaten UNC, Wake, Duke and ECU this season, leaving little argument from other North Carolina schools.
For some reason, I suspect Appalachian State would want a shot at the Wolfpack.
Is it true that:
"Carolina is widely known for its excessive douche-baggery and losing at everything?"
Perhaps. But wait: "State's pranks are illegal and just gay."
Take that, Stater!
The wolves and rams slug it out on wikipedia. Bring your popcorn (and insults) to the entry titled Carolina-NC State rivalry.
h/t Paul Jones
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM – After beating Michigan to clinch the Coaches v. Cancer Classic title on Saturday, a tired Duke team returned to Durham on Sunday to face the lowly Montana Grizzlies--who, last season, finished fifth in the Big Sky conference. For the first time this year, former starting point guard Greg Paulus sat out the entire game, and did not participate in a shoot-around at the half. That left sophomore standout Nolan Smith--who led Duke with 16 points and 4 assists in the Michigan win--to take the reins, beyond a nominal starting position over Paulus, who has had several nagging injuries this season. In the end, Smith split ball-handling time with shooting-guard Jon Scheyer (14 points, 0 assists), in a Jordan-Pippen two-guard format, while Coach Mike Krzyzewski also subbed in freshman Eliot Williams (4 points, 3 assists) at the point. Smith finished with a team-high 14 points and one assist (along with 3 turnovers) in the 78-58 victory.
"I had to pick it up vocally," Smith said after the win. "I realized, the day without Greg in there, I had to speak."
Though his stat line may not have shown it, Smith demonstrated confidence on Sunday as a playmaker on the court. Described by teammates as quiet, Smith--with some encouragement from Krzyzewski--began to order the troops.
"He led our team in the second half," said power forward Kyle Singler (13 points/5 rebounds/3 assists), who was tournament MVP in the Coaches v. Cancer Classic. "Nolan I think matured, and took a new step tonight."
Jarrett over at Trisoccerfan.com reports that one unintended consequence of the decision by the Atlanta Silverbacks to sit out the 2009 season is that the team's most valuable property, Macoumba "Mac" Kandji, is now contracted with the RailHawks—due to the small stake in the Cary team that is held by Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica.
Despite playing only 21 games, Kandji scored 11 goals, enough to finish fourth in the league. He was named to the All-USL first team. On Sept. 15, he was loaned to the New York Red Bulls of the MLS, and he was inserted into yesterday's MLS Cup final against the Columbus Crew, in the 82nd minute. The Crew won, 3-1, by the way.
None of this means Kandji will be playing in WakeMed Soccer Park next year. Jarrett explains the various scenarios at his indispensable fan site.
Triangle Offense's Chris Gaffney is in Tampa, attending the winter meeting of the USL. Look for his reports in the coming days.
After three games of strong hockey, the Hurricanes were due for a relapse. An early third period surge wasn’t enough to overcome a four-goal Nashville lead and the Hurricanes fell, 5-2. The ‘Canes finished a 4-game home stretch 3-1, but failed to catch the Washington Capitals in the chase for the division lead.
Although the power play has been clicking recently, the Hurricanes squandered five power plays in the first period, including nearly two and a half minutes of 5-on-3. The power play looked shaky and lacked rhythm, and they could manage only a few feeble shots on goal before the puck was swept out of the zone by the increasingly-ambitious Nashville penalty killers.