Tar Heels back to work, as they host Bulldogs
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) – Following a week off, the third-ranked
North Carolina Tar Heels get back to work, as they welcome the UNC-
Asheville Bulldogs to Chapel Hill for a showdown at the Dean E. Smith Center.
The Tar Heels were last in action on December 9th, when they routed High
Point (94-69) and in the process, gave head coach Roy Williams his 500th
career victory. The victory was also the fourth straight for UNC, with the
team’s lone loss coming against Gonzaga on November 22nd.
The Bulldogs are a game under .500 on the season, but have played better
of late, winning three of their last four games, including an 84-66 win over
Tusculum last weekend.
This game marks just the fourth all-time meeting between these two teams,
with North Carolina winning each of the previous three outings. Last
season, the Tar Heels posted a lopsided 89-47 decision in Chapel Hill. The
Bulldogs have never posted a win against the ACC, going 0-43 all-time against
the current members of the conference.
K.J. Garland erupted for a season-high 26 points, leading the Bulldogs to an
easy win over Tusculum last weekend. Garland just missed recording a double-
double with a career best nine rebounds. UNC-Asheville took control of the
game early on, shooting 59 percent from the floor in the first half and taking
a 16-point lead into the locker room. Four others joined Garland in double
figures, with Vincent James pouring in 12 points off the bench, followed by
Joey Harrell and Bryan Smithson with 11 points each, and finally C.J. Walker’s
career-high 10 points. The Bulldogs have three players currently averaging
double figures, but the result is a rather mediocre 69.8 ppg. Smithson is tops
on the squad with 16.2 ppg and is shooting a healthy .414 from long range.
Vincent and Garland provide depth with 11.0 and 10.6 ppg. respectively.
There is no shortage of scoring depth in Chapel Hill this season, as this
young group of players has thrived at the offensive end of the court. The Tar
Heels are shooting a solid .511 from the floor, leading to a whopping 90.1
ppg. In addition, the team has really abused foes on the boards, boasting of a
+11.2 rebounding margin. The team has a pair of outstanding performers in the
frontcourt in All-American Tyler Hasnbrough and freshman sensation Brandan
Wright. Hansbrough is shooting .552 from the field this season and leads the
team in both scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). Wright is a freakish
athlete with the ability to jump out of the building. He is converting a
team-high 62.5 percent of his shots and ranks second in scoring (15.1 ppg) and
rebounding (6.4 rpg). Two more freshmen patrol the backcourt and give the team
plenty of scoring balance, with Wayne Ellington (13.0 ppg) and Ty Lawson (10.3
ppg) delivering big time from the outside. Ellington is shooting just over 50
percent from the floor (.506), while Lawson is closing in on 60 percent
(.591). Roy Williams reached the 500-win plateau faster than any coach in
Division I history and Hansbrough certainly had a big hand in the win last
week, erupting for 24 points. Four others finished in double digits, with
Reyshawn Terry, Lawson and Wright all chipping in 11 points, while Marcus
Ginyard added 10. The Heels shot a ridiculous .636 from the floor in the game
and outscored High Point at the free-throw line, 20-3.