The North Carolina Tar Heels were able to pull out a crucial 77-72 victory over the Florida State Seminoles, and the victory for UNC puts a sharper focus on the struggles of FSU basketball this year. They have had an extremely disappointing season, and it’s been worse than the Tar Heels’s year so far. The win puts North Carolina out of their early slide, but their 11-5 record and too-close-for-comfort status of this games shows that UNC still has plenty of work to do in order to make good on their expectations. This was a game UNC should have won, and they were able to make good on that expectation.
What jumps out to me is the fact that Florida State was actually more efficient with a 59%-55% advantage in effective field goal percentage. They also turned the ball over it little less. The difference between these two teams that led to the victory for the Tar Heels was the disparity in offensive rebounds; the Heels simply owned the boards.
Jackson Simmons celebrated his birthday with four offensive rebounds, while star Reggie Bullock paced the team with five. James Michael McAdoo was also a key contributor on the boards with three offensive rebounds, and he and Bullock had eight rebounds each. Overall, UNC had six players with at least three rebounds. I actually think that this was more due to the incompetence of Florida State on the boards, because only Okaro White (six) had more than four boards.
The star of the game for the North Carolina Tar Heels was P.J. Hairston, who put up 23 points and four rebounds on 9-14 shooting. He was a precise 4-9 from beyond the arc and was clearly the best scoring option on either team in this game. Hairston was hitting almost everything in sight, and McAdoo and Bullock were also influential in this win. The three stars of the Tar Heels shined the brightest against FSU, and they were the ones to lead the team to victory.
The ‘Noles were led by the aforementioned Okaro White, who led the team with 15 points, six rebounds, and three steals. White also added two assists and a block in a game that saw the ‘Noles combine for 12 blocks and steals.
This game showed the character that this UNC team has, and this could very well be a springboard for the Heels. It’s not easy to shut down an opponent during the final 4:15 of the game, but that’s exactly what North Carolina did. They went on an 8-0 run to close the game, and stars like Hairston and Bullock were the catalysts. There were plenty of bad memories in Tallahassee that accumulated over the recent years, and McAdoo and the veterans were painfully aware. Hopefully they exorcised the demons of the early season and burned those bad memories, in addition to the memories of defeat in Florida State’s home court that were burned following the 77-72 victory.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.