North Carolina 92 Arizona 64

Earlier this afternoon #4 UNC defeated #17 Arizona 92-64 in Tucson, Arizona. The Tarheels were without freshmen starter Brandon Wright and sophomore defensive specialist Marcus Ginyard, but the absences didn’t stop the heels from dominating the Wildcats on both ends of the floor. Six Tarheels ended the game with double-digit points including the freshmen twin towers Deon Thompson (14pts.) and Alex Stepheson (10pts.). The win brings UNC to 19-2 on the season and drops Arizona to 14-6.

Some Observations from the game:
Ty Lawson is the next legitimate UNC PG: The freshman point guard finished the game with 18 points, and his play helped to spark many of the Tarheels’ scoring streaks. Lawson played with tremendous poise and he handled the ball with few turnovers. His ball-handling skills led to several offensive opportunities and his defensive presence bothered the Arizona guards all day. Could Lawson be the next Ed Cota or Raymond Felton? Yes – if he stays in school.

UNC’s Freshmen Class is truly amazing: UNC’s fabulous freshmen without Brandon Wright contributed 56 points (Wayne Ellington [14 pts], Lawson [18pts], Thompson [14pts], and Stepheson [10]), and they showed that they can play with anyone in the country. Thompson and Stepheson clocked some very important minutes, and their effort in today’s game will boost Coach Williams’ confidence in them during the final stretch of the ACC schedule.

You can’t run with UNC: Early in the first half Arizona was playing well, and they were keeping up with UNC. On the offensive end the Wildcats’ guards penetrated the UNC defense and found many open players around the basket for easy buckets, and on the defensive end they slowed Carolina’s offense and made them run half-court sets. However, once UNC started to push the tempo Arizona strayed from their game plan and attempted to play the high tempo style. In that stretch Carolina increased the lead to 18 points, and Arizona began shooting ill-advised 3 pointers ( 0 for 15 three pointers at one point). The Wildcats would have been better served to slow the game down and test UNC’s freshmen big men in the paint.

Arizona is rather disappointing: Even though I watched UVA blow out Arizona earlier this year in Charlottesville, VA, I still thought this game was going to be a tough road test for UNC. I’m not disappointed with the Tarheels victory -they played great – but I thought ‘Zona would be more of a formidable foe. UNC owned the game from the opening tip, and they made Arizona conform to their style of up-tempo basketball.


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