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December 9, 2012
Heels fly by ETSU
North Carolina took on an overmatched East Tennessee State University squad Saturday night to the woodshed.
Not only was there a huge talent disparity but East Tennessee State only suited up eight players.
The result was an overwhelming 78-55 rout of the Buccaneers by the Tar Heels.
UNC head coach Roy Williams didn't take the other team lightly. He trapped them in the half-court and kept the reserves rotating in with the starters until ETSU simply couldn't keep up.
North Carolina had 11 players with double digit minutes compared to only eight players that saw game action from the ETSU side.
The gulf in players (and talent) was something Williams made mention of at his post-game press conference.
"It was an unusual game to say the least-41-12 at halftime," said Williams. "You feel bad for (ETSU Head Coach) Murray (Bartow)-he's got his point guard out, he had two guys that they suspended, and another guy that is out for a semester that will get back after that."
James Michael McAdoo, normally the table setter for the Tar Heels, only had 9 points and 2 rebounds, the first time this season he didn't score in double figures.
He was the last Tar Heel to not accomplish that feat this season.
However, the story of the game was the unselfishness of the Tar Heels.
North Carolina's 31 made field goals were the result of 30 assists.
The lone basket that wasn't the result of a teammate's pass wasn't lost on Williams.
"Well, if you think about it, the only (field goal) that wasn't (assisted) was when P.J. (Hairston) made a pass to Leslie (McDonald) and Leslie missed the layup bot got his own rebound and put it back in," said Williams. "It shows that when we move the ball we are very successful."
The young talent for Williams' squad continued to grow on Saturday.
Brice Johnson continued his ascension into Williams' trust circle. He had 12 points and 8 rebounds along with numerous hustle plays including a handful of alley-oop dunks that brought the Dean Dome to its feet.
Leslie McDonald scored 14 points and nailed 4 three-pointers while J.P. Tokoto had 9 points and 2 steals.
Marcus Paige returned to action after missing the UAB game last week. He had seven assists and only two turnovers.
Being trounced by a team is never easy but ETSU head coach Murray Bartow attempted to keep his team focused on their ultimate goal.
"We're trying to win our league. North Carolina's not going to be in our league," Bartow continued. "You've just got to try to take them, any small victory you can take away from this, you've got to try to take away. So that was to me the encouraging thing. We could have totally caved in and quit."
The second half was more competitive. In fact, the Bucs outscored the Tar Heels 43-36.
Williams says he would have liked if his team's first half performance had carried over more to the second half.
"I don't like to say this, but we couldn't maintain that same type of intensity in the second half. I wish we could have, but we didn't."
"We missed so many shots, and the strange thing is, we didn't practice very much this week, but we spent a lot of time shooting. Maybe we spent too much time shooting," said Williams.
Joel James got the start tonight. The fifth starter for North Carolina has been a point of mystery for fans and players with Williams usually not announcing who will start until minutes before the game.
The Tar Heels are now 7-2 overall and have an undefeated home record (4-0).
They will take on the East Carolina University Pirates on Dec. 15 in its next game.