• 41°

ACC Basketball: North Carolina 81, Rutgers 67

By Aaron Beard
Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina’s 17-point second-half lead was down to four with about 2 minutes left when Dexter Strickland got the ball in the corner. The freshman hesitated, then launched a 3-pointer that dropped through the net and sent everyone in the Smith Center into celebration.
Everyone except Roy Williams.
“I hated the shot,” the Hall of Fame coach said, “but it went in and talent took over above coaching and intelligence.”
Strickland’s 3 was key in helping the ninth-ranked Tar Heels hold off Rutgers 81-67 on Monday night. But perhaps more than anything, it illustrated the apparent disconnect between what Williams wants and what his young squad is giving him ó a surprising problem for a team that is 13 games into the season and two weeks from Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Yes, Strickland scored a season-high 18 points to lead six players in double figures and the Tar Heels pulled away late for a double-digit victory. But the final score doesn’t tell what Williams sees: a team that looked confused defensively and struggled to make the right decisions with the ball.
At one point, Williams was so irked that he slammed his right hand down on his chair and slouched in his seat on the bench after the Tar Heels had to burn a timeout with about 3 minutes left.
“I’m really not in a good mood about any dumb things that they did right now,” a seething Williams said.
The absence of fifth-year senior Marcus Ginyard didn’t help matters. The versatile swingman, who is averaging 11 points per game, sprained his right ankle on a drive to the basket during Saturday’s practice, with the school announcing Monday afternoon he would sit out against Rutgers. He was on the bench, but walked at times with the aid of a crutch and is considered doubtful for Wednesday night’s home game against Albany.
But still, with guys like senior Deon Thompson (14 points) and sophomore big man Ed Davis (11 points, 15 rebounds) coming off significant roles in last year’s national championship run, it’s not like North Carolina should look so befuddled, either.
“We have the talent to be a very, very good team and have all the pieces to be a very, very good team,” Thompson said. “What we do in practice, we just have to do in games. We do everything perfect in practice and then we get in the games and then it seems like we just forget everything.”
Mike Rosario scored 22 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (9-3), who came in with a six-game winning streak ó the program’s longest in eight years ó though it came largely against a soft schedule. That didn’t stop Rutgers from giving the Tar Heels plenty of reason to feel frustrated.
“I really like what this team is doing,” Rutgers coach Fred Hill said. “But I’m an old-school guy. I never like when we lose a game, ever.”
The Tar Heels pushed a 39-33 halftime lead into a 61-44 margin with about 12 minutes left only to see the Scarlet Knights inch their way back into the game. Rosario’s driving score made it 71-67 with 2:08 left and awoke what had been a slumbering home crowd.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate

News

Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle

Ask Us

Ask Us: What programs exist for litter cleanup?

Business

County begins accepting restaurant grant applications

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses

Nation/World

Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief

Nation/World

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Nation/World

Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment

Nation/World

Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Local

Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education