Council, Barkley too much for Chapel Hill to handle on court
You know there’s a special kind of talent on the team when the coach is underwhelmed with the top two shooters after they banged in a combined 43 points.
But Northern coach Ronnie Russell is looking for even bigger things out of Ricky Council and Kentrell Barkley than their ring-a-ding offense in shutting down Chapel Hill 65-60 Tuesday night.
Council pumped in 24 points to lead all scorers. Barkley ripped the nets for another 19, while rejecting shot after shot under the boards and muscling in to get a number of takeaways.
“We’ve got to get a little bit more out of them,” Russell said. Seriously.
“We didn’t get out of them what I thought we were going to get tonight. They had a couple of good looks and didn’t knock them down. We have to get better with that,” he said.
Chapel Hill trailed virtually the entire game, but skidding 32-24 at the half, showed a magical spark in the third period to close within a point at 41-40. The Tigers even took the lead — ever so briefly — with 58 seconds remaining in the period when Shane Turner drained a 3-pointer to make it 40-39.
Turner was Chapel Hill’s high scorer with 16 points.
Try though they might, the Tigers couldn’t get closer than 2 points in the final frame, but were within one 3-pointer much of the period from tying or going ahead.
“It wasn’t my doing. We played against a good team. They’re going to do a lot of good stuff this year,” Russell said of the Chapel Hill comeback and the antsy finish protecting the Knights’ tenuous lead.
“They shot the ball real well and we wasn’t closing out on them. They’ve got a lot of good shooters,” he said. “They’re not going to quit. I knew they were going to come back.”
While Russell insisted “we’re not doing a lot of stuff well right now,” he was pleased with the defensive pressure the Knights were able to mount.
“We picked up our defensive intensity in the second half when we needed it and that made a difference,” he said. During one five-minute stretch of the third period Barkley blocked three shots, which helped preserve Northern’s lead.
“We’ve just got to get better every game,” Russell said.
NORTHERN 65, CHAPEL HILL 60
Northern 15 17 9 24 — 65
Chapel Hill 8 16 16 20 — 60
NORTHERN — Ricky Council 24, Kentrell Barkley 19, T.J Cruthfield 7, Jaquan Harris 4, Emmett Tilley 4, T.J. Bell 2, Avion Jordan 2, Dillon Leovic 2, Jamal Moore 1.
CHAPEL HILL — Shane Turner 16, David Caraher 14, Jamil Walker 11, Jeremy Werden 8, Karl Hill 4, Brian Thorton 3, Matt Gilleski 2, Josh Hennen 2.
Records — Northern 1-0, Chapel Hill 1-1.