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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tar Heels get embarrassed in Atlanta, lose first ACC game

Posted by on Sun, Jan 16, 2011 at 10:57 PM

Roy Williams earlier this season
FOX SPORTS — North Carolina’s short-lived stint atop the ACC standings crashed down on Sunday night, when the Tar Heels were embarrassed 78-58 by an ordinarily hapless Georgia Tech squad.

Carolina’s problems became manifest immediately. The starting five unit has been ineffective for much of the season, and their play enabled Tech to open up a small working margin and gain immeasurable confidence early. Keep in mind, these Yellow Jackets had lost three in a row and four out of five, including a defeat to Siena. Earlier this season, they fell to Kennesaw State.

So that’s the background for what should have been, even on the road, another victory for UNC in a weakened ACC and a 3-0 record to begin league play. But whatever advantages existed for the Tar Heels were squandered by the team’s complete lack of aggression and concentration.

The Tar Heels consistently failed to secure rebounds or retrieve loose balls, and they missed numerous layups. The club’s defense was very poor as well, but the true horror story was on offense. Carolina shot only 27 percent from the field, a miserable performance in any situation, and especially against an inferior opponent.

The carnage included a 5-for-25 shooting output in the second half, unspeakably poor considering that the Heels actually did manage to get some clean looks. Turnovers were a severe problem, too, as Carolina coughed up the ball 18 times.

As you'd expect, the individual numbers were brutal. Five players attempted at least five shots: John Henson shot 3-for-9, Harrison Barnes shot 3-for-13, Tyler Zeller shot 2-for-6, Leslie McDonald shot 2-for-10 and Reggie Bullock shot 1-for-5.

But the dismal nature of UNC’s play extended beyond the inability (or unwillingness) to execute. Georgia Tech personally confronted the Tar Heels, and two players—Iman Shumpert and Glen Rice Jr.—strutted and smack-talked throughout the night without any meaningful response by Carolina.

The synopsis of this game necessitates comparisons to last season, particularly the stretch during the conference schedule when Carolina seemed detached from the competition. One game alone doesn’t place this year’s team into that category, but consider Sunday night a warning sign.

To view the UNC/Georgia Tech box score, click here.

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