Friday, March 13, 2009

Heels not pretty without Lawson

Ty Lawson was in uniform on the bench, his ailing right big toe encased in a protective boot, so it’s not like North Carolina would have moved very fast with him in the game clunking down the court.

But with Bobby Frasor and Larry Drew II running the offense, the Heels certainly weren’t moving much faster.

North Carolina survived to advance to Saturday’s semifinals behind Tyler Hansbrough’s 28 points and a questionable jump-ball call with five seconds to go to hold off Virginia Tech 79-76, but it wasn’t the kind of basketball that makes Carolina so dangerous. It was really only half of it.

It didn’t matter Friday that Carolina couldn’t (or wouldn’t) push the ball up the floor, but it may matter Saturday if Florida State can beat Georgia Tech this afternoon and Lawson remains out — he’s “unlikely” to play tomorrow, Carolina coach Roy Williams said.

The Heels had only five fast-break points and only once tried to run off a made basket in the first half, with Danny Green missing a quick three-pointer. Carolina generated a mere 10 points off only seven Virginia turnovers.

Frasor did have only one turnover in a career-high 37 minutes, but he admits he just can’t do what Lawson does.

“No one can fill Ty’s shoes,” Frasor said. “He’s the ACC player of the year and an all-American guard. He gets us so many points just by raw speed. I can’t duplicate that.”

The inside offense of Hansbrough, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis was good enough to carry the Heels against Virginia Tech (despite some solid defensive work by Jeff Allen and Cheick Diakite), and A.D. Vassallo’s foul trouble helped keep him off the court in the first half — good news for Carolina, considering he finished with 26 points.

“It was an ugly game, but I’m real proud of us that we were able to win ugly,” Williams said.

But it will be a different equation tomorrow if Florida State is the opponent. At one point Friday, Carolina had three tips at a Hansbrough miss before Danny Green converted. That will not happen as easily against Solomon Alabi, Chris Singleton, Uche Echefu and Ryan Reid.

With those guys, the Seminoles can bring as much height inside as any team in the conference, an attribute which gave the Heels a ton of trouble in Tallahassee, holding a foul-plagued Hansbrough to eight points. And that was with Toney Douglas harassing Lawson instead of Frasor and Drew.

Lawson bailed out the Heels that night in January with his last-second game-winner. It doesn’t look like he’ll be around to help Saturday.

-- Luke DeCock

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heels should be fine as long as they have the ACC refs on their side. Just a ridiculous jump-ball call.

Anonymous said...

That jump ball call was not nearly as bad as the obvious goal tending. The bad calls went both ways.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Luke for the grim forecast. We'll see - that's why they play the games....

Anonymous said...

Wow Luke - should the Tar Heels even bother to show up and play? Sounds like you have the mighty Seminoles winning in a rout. . . I'll be looking forward to your post tomorrow . . .

Anonymous said...

GO GEORGIA TECH!!!... I dont want my Tar Heels playing FSU without Lawson...

or maybe i do...

Either way GO HEELS!

Anonymous said...

Agreed FSU could beat the heels IF they beat GA Tech... the Jackets are keeping that game close...

Luke is yet another lame assed Observer writer who already dismisses Ga Tech from beating FSU. the game has over 5 minutes left and there down 3 points

Tarheel Paul said...

It is good to know the # 1 team in America has no chance against a team from Felony U. Where did you get your sports writng degree, the University of I AM a Moron. Carolina will be fine as long as they remember to take the ball to Hansbrough first.

Tim Lynch said...

Did I miss something, or did Carolina just beat a good VT team without their ACC Player of the Year. GO HEELS

Anonymous said...

Refs always are wild cards as long as they have whistles in their lips. They anticipate calls to the degree that players can't play good defense by blocking a shot or making a steal, without the refs calling a foul. If the jump ball was suspect, then so was the missed goaltending call that took points away from the Heels. Their inaptness works against both teams. The refs should let the players play, but that concept goes against their controlling and too structured personalities. Don't blame Carolina if the Hokies missed the NCAA tournament. They should have won more games during the regular season.

Anonymous said...

Whatever! Tune in tomorrow and watch The Heels play. Menawhile Tech gets ready to host Davidson in the NIT.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I was so happy to get a nice win without the star point guard. Now...guess I'll just go to the movies or something tomorrow.
Geez....sportswriters...
(For the opposite spin, see Ron Green Jr.'s article.)

Go Heels.

Anonymous said...

Who needs Lawson when Carolina's got the refs???

Nice dance, Hansbrough.

Anonymous said...

You Carolina fans are ridiculous. Without Lawson FSU is gonna run UNC of the court. The Heels got a last second 3 to win the game WITH Lawson. FSU is gonna win in a rout...

Anonymous said...

Not that anybody'll read this by now...but gotta post a comment in retrospect.
Evidently, 1. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny...there really are no such things as Carolina refs (or at least they didn't work Saturday's game) and 2. Carolina doesn't necessarily get routed without Lawson.
Now, will all you Carolina haters please shut up...or at least grow up and post with a little more intelligence?
Go Noles! (and Heels next week)

Anonymous said...

Judging from "The Greatest Team of All Time's" play in this tourney, Lawson will be GREATLY missed next year!