GAME NOTES: Two teams in desperate need of a league win clash in Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon, as the North Carolina Tar Heels play host to the Boston College Eagles in ACC action from the Smith Center.
Roy Williams' Tar Heels are 10-6 on the season and have some marquee wins on their resume, topping Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky this season. However, UNC has not been able to add to its win total since ACC play has begun and sits at an inexplicable 0-3 in the conference standings, following a 57-45 road loss at second-ranked Syracuse last weekend.
The Eagles were also last in action against the Orange and suffered a similar fate, as they dropped a 69-59 decision on Monday, the team's fifth loss in the last six games. Despite a talented roster, Steve Donahue's Eagles are a mere 5-12 on the season, including a 1-3 mark in-conference.
North Carolina has won four straight against Boston College to take a 10-5 series advantage.
The Eagles had the Orange on the ropes, leading 51-46 in the second half, but Syracuse went on a 14-0 run to put the game out of reach. Lonnie Jackson lead BC with 18, all of which came from behind the arc (6-of-9). Ryan Anderson added 14 points to the cause, while Olivier Hanlan finished with 13 points and six assists. BC got absolutely no help from its bench, as Syracuse outscored the Eagles 18-0 in that regard. SU also dominated the play inside, with a 32-12 edge in points in the paint.
The Eagles don't have a lot of scoring depth, despite a roster chock-full of talent. Boston College comes into this game averaging a modest 70.1 ppg, but the team gives up 74.8. Hanlan and Anderson have lived up to their hype. Hanlan ranks first on the team and second in the conference in scoring at a hefty 19.1 ppg. Anderson, who is shooting over 50 percent from the floor, pours in 15.3 ppg and is tops in terms of rebounding (7.1 rpg). Joe Rahon (9.0 ppg) is a complementary piece in the backcourt for Boston College.
The Tar Heels simply couldn't match Syracuse's intensity on the defensive end and fell to the Orange at the Carrier Dome last weekend by 10 points. The forward duo of C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant was too much to contend with as the two Syracuse playmakers combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds. Marcus Paige led the way for UNC in defeat, posting 17 points. James Michael McAdoo added 15 points, but there wasn't much help elsewhere, as the remainder of the roster accounted for a mere 13 points. Overall, UNC shot a dismal .392 from the floor, a number weighed down by an ugly 2-of-12 effort from 3-point range.
A lack of long-range acumen as been a major problem for the Tar Heels this season. Despite averaging a healthy 75.6 ppg on .452 shooting overall, the team has amassed only 55 3-pointers on the season (3.4 per game). Paige is the team catalyst as both the top scorer (17.0 ppg) and top distributor (4.3 apg). McAdoo is next in the scoring column at 14.4 ppg, while Brice Johnson adds 10.6 ppg primarily as a spark off the bench.
It won't take just one win for either team to turn things around, but playing at home should give the Tar Heels the edge and at the very least put UNC on the path to recovery.
Game Date and Time