Tar Heels focus on boards as they prepare for FSU test Sunday

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 10:30 PM

After North Carolina beat Clemson by nine on Thursday night, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams wasn’t in a celebratory mood.

While reporters were conducting post-game interviews in one corner of the locker room, Williams went to the whiteboard wrote “They rebounded us by 14 in the second half.”

To emphasize the point, Williams turned to the group of players and reporters on his way out and said: “Make sure everybody sees that.”

UNC has won four straight with a smaller starting lineup of four perimeter players and forward James Michael McAdoo heading into today’s game against Florida State (2 p.m., CBS). But as Williams pointed out, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The Tar Heels (20-8, 10-5 ACC) have been outrebounded by 15 in those four games, including a 23-9 disparity in the second half against Clemson.

“They were going after the ball. We were acting like a bunch of pansies,” Williams said. “Some of those were long rebounds that bounced out, and we’re standing there watching it. … When you go small, you’ve got to have guys that are willing to compete on the boards and chase the long rebounds and box out.”

UNC has developed a pattern since going to the smaller starting lineup, which has 6-5 P.J. Hairston at power forward and 6-9 center Desmond Hubert on the bench. The Tar Heels lose the rebounding battle, but use their speed to make up for it.

Clemson forwards Devin Booker and Milton Jennings both had double-doubles Thursday night, but the Tar Heels dominated on fast break points (13-0) and points off turnovers (13-2). UNC is averaging just 8.8 turnovers during the four-game winning streak and has a 90-40 edge in points off turnovers since Hairston became a starter.

Tigers coach Brad Brownell said that UNC’s ability to make good decisions with the basketball is critical to their success. Point guard Marcus Paige has 17 assists and four turnovers in his last three games, while shooting guard Dexter Strickland leads the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.1) and small forward Reggie Bullock had six assists and no turnovers against Clemson.

“North Carolina’s assist to turnover ratio is outstanding,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “Those are difference-makers because they are getting a shot on every possession. With a team that can score, that is dangerous for you defensively. Their ability to pass and catch and make decisions, is what in my mind, is the reason they are playing so well right now.”

Still, Williams isn’t ready to concede the rebounding battle just because McAdoo is the only true post player among the top six players in the rotation.

“I’m not going to accept it,” Williams said after the Clemson game. “Tonight was lack of effort. If we try to box a guy out and they beat us to the ball, I can accept it. But we were very, very inadequate on the backboards to say the least.”

The Tar Heels have a big opportunity to improve their rebounding numbers against Florida State (15-13, 7-8), which is last in the ACC in rebounding margin at minus-2.6. The Seminoles also play a three-guard lineup, with only two players taller than 6-5 (6-8 forward Okaro White and 7-1 center Michael Ojo), so UNC shouldn’t have too many mismatches.

Still, the Tar Heels know they must concentrate on the boards if they want to maintain their third-place position in the ACC and beat Florida State for the 14th time in 18 games.

“We can’t use that as an excuse that we have a small lineup in there,” Strickland said. “We have to do a better job of rebounding.”

UNC'S LAST GAME ...

NORTH CAROLINA 68, CLEMSON 59
    FG FT
NORTH CAROLINA Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS
Bullock 35 5-6 1-4 4-9 6 2 12
McAdoo 29 5-13 1-2 1-4 3 1 11
Strickland 34 7-9 2-2 0-3 4 1 16
Paige 32 4-6 0-0 0-1 4 3 10
Hairston 27 3-11 2-3 1-5 1 2 11
James 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
McDonald 15 2-8 0-0 1-3 1 1 6
Johnson 8 0-2 2-4 0-0 0 1 2
Hubert 7 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 1 0
Simmons 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Tokoto 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 26-55 8-15 8-30 19 12 68

Percentages: FG .473, FT .533.

3-Point Goals: 8-22, .364 (Hairston 3-9, Paige 2-3, McDonald 2-7, Bullock 1-2, Strickland 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 3 (McAdoo 2, Strickland).

Turnovers: 9 (McAdoo 3, Paige 2, James, Hubert, Strickland, Hairston).

Steals: 7 (Bullock 3, Hairston 2, McAdoo, McDonald).

Technical Fouls: None.

    FG FT
CLEMSON                     Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS
Jennings 35 5-10 0-0 1-10 5 4 12
Booker 31 9-13 7-8 6-11 0 3 25
Hall 31 1-5 2-3 0-3 2 1 4
Roper 33 2-12 0-0 1-3 3 1 6
Harrison 30 1-8 0-0 1-2 1 2 2
Filer 28 3-7 0-0 2-4 1 2 6
Sullivan 4 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0
Nnoko 8 2-3 0-0 2-3 0 1 4
Totals 200 23-58 9-11 14-39 12 14 59

Percentages: FG .397, FT .818.

3-Point Goals: 4-17, .235 (Jennings 2-6, Roper 2-8, Filer 0-1, Booker 0-1, Harrison 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 0.

Turnovers: 15 (Filer 5, Booker 4, Hall 3, Jennings 2, Roper).

Steals: 6 (Jennings 2, Filer 2, Harrison, Hall).

Technical Fouls: None.

North Carolina 38 30—68
Clemson 24 35—59

A—9,778.

Officials—Karl Hess, Les Jones, Ed Corbett.

 

FLORIDA STATE'S LAST GAME ...

FLORIDA ST. 76, WAKE FOREST 62
    FG FT
WAKE FOREST Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS
Thomas 16 2-4 5-6 0-1 0 3 9
McKie 32 5-9 3-5 1-6 1 2 15
Adala Moto 14 2-6 1-2 2-2 2 5 5
Miller-McIntyre 36 2-9 0-0 0-2 0 1 5
Harris 32 1-7 6-6 1-2 1 2 9
Jones 14 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 0 0
Fischer 13 3-5 0-0 1-1 1 2 9
Washington 4 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 2
Rountree III 16 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 4 2
Cavanaugh 22 1-7 2-2 1-2 1 4 5
Jennings 1 0-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 1
Totals 200 18-55 18-23 9-21 8 24 62

Percentages: FG .327, FT .783.

3-Point Goals: 8-21, .381 (Fischer 3-5, McKie 2-3, Miller-McIntyre 1-3, Cavanaugh 1-4, Harris 1-4, Jennings 0-1, Adala Moto 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 4.

Blocked Shots: 2 (McKie 2).

Turnovers: 8 (Thomas 3, Jones 2, Adala Moto, Washington, McKie).

Steals: 5 (Rountree III 2, Adala Moto, Harris, McKie).

Technical Fouls: None.

    FG FT
FLORIDA ST. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS
White 28 4-7 5-6 2-9 0 3 13
Ojo 5 1-1 0-0 0-3 0 4 2
Bookert 36 2-7 0-0 3-5 3 1 5
Snaer 31 7-10 8-8 1-5 2 2 24
Thomas 25 2-6 2-2 1-5 0 2 7
Brandon 11 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 0 2
Turpin 14 1-3 2-2 2-4 0 4 4
Gilchrist 12 2-3 0-0 1-4 0 1 4
Bojanovsky 21 4-6 2-4 1-3 1 1 10
Portuondo 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Miller 15 0-4 3-4 1-3 4 0 3
Moreau 1 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 0 2
Totals 200 23-47 26-30 13-44 10 19 76

Percentages: FG .489, FT .867.

3-Point Goals: 4-14, .286 (Snaer 2-5, Thomas 1-3, Bookert 1-3, White 0-1, Miller 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 12 (Turpin 4, Bojanovsky 3, White 2, Ojo, Bookert, Gilchrist).

Turnovers: 16 (White 4, Bookert 4, Thomas 2, Gilchrist, Ojo, Turpin, Portuondo, Miller, Bojanovsky).

Steals: 4 (Snaer, Gilchrist, Bookert, White).

Technical Fouls: None.

Wake Forest 34 28—62
Florida St. 40 36—76

A_6,589.

Officials_Brian Dorsey, Mike Stuart, Tony Greene.