Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ex-West Charlotte star hits shot for Wake Forest win

Freshman J.T. Terrell, a former star at West Charlotte High, hit a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining to cap a 32-point performance to lead Wake Forest to a 76-73 comeback victory over Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night in Joel Coliseum.

After trailing by 12 at halftime, Wake Forest (4-3) roared back by hitting 12 of its first 15 field goal attempts in the second half with Terrell igniting the offense.

Tied at 73 in the closing seconds, Wake Forest's Ty Walker blocked a shot by Iowa's Bryce Cartwright, setting up Terrell's heroics.

-- Ron Green Jr.

Iowa takes 39-27 halftime lead over Wake Forest

Wake Forest's early-season struggles continued in the first half tonight as Iowa pulled away to a 39-27 halftime lead in their ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at Joel Coliseum.

The Deacons made 13 turnovers, shot 38 percent and allowed the Hawkeyes to continually find holes in their zone defense.

Freshman J.T. Terrell had 13 first-half points but also had six turnovers.

-- Ron Green Jr.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Execution lacking for youthful Heels

Execution lacking for youthful Heels

Roy Williams came to his press conference Monday afternoon with his right thumb taped.

"I hit one of my players," Williams joked.

After two straight losses, Williams said he didn't hit one of players because he had too many options.

All kidding aside, Williams -- who said he injured his thumb catching a pass in practice -- offered a simple solution for the Tar Heels' two-game losing streak.

"We just have to play better," Williams said.

The Heels (2-2) turned the ball over 21 times in a 72-65 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday and 16 times in a 72-67 loss to Minnesota on Friday.

Those mistakes cost Tar Heels against veteran teams, as Williams pointed out both Minnesota and Vandy made the NCAA tournament last year, while UNC was relegated to the NIT.

"Nobody likes to admit it but, guys, we're an unbelievably young team," Williams said. "Young teams are going to make mistakes."

UNC started two juniors, two sophomores and freshman against Vanderbilt. Williams said some of the mistakes are correctable, like catching the ball, which the Tar Heels failed to do twice against Vanderbilt. Bottom line, Williams said, UNC needs to execute better, and soon, because after Tuesday's game against UNC-Asheville, the Heels face College of Charleston (who beat UNC last year), No. 19 Illinois and No. 8 Kentucky.

"I don't care what anybody else says, by God, we've got play better," Williams said. "That's my message right there. It's not going to be a fun time for them, and I don't really care, you've got to play better."

-- J.P. Giglio

Tudor's Take: Poor shooting haunts Heels, Pack

Shoot or get shot.

The adage may be as old as basketball itself, but it's one worth bringing up again after weekend tournament setbacks for North Carolina and N.C. State.

In losses to Minnesota (72-67) and Vanderbilt (72-65) this weekend in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the Tar Heels shot a combined 38.6 percent -- 46-for-119.

Those percentages are in line with UNC's shooting stats in its 11 regular-season ACC losses last season.

In only three of those losses -- at Clemson, at Virginia Tech and against Florida State in Chapel Hill -- did North Carolina shoot above 40 percent and then barely.

Meanwhile, the Wolfpack, in an 82-67 loss to Georgetown on Sunday in the title game of the Charleston (S.C.) Classic, shot just 39.7 percent. That, too, virtually mirrors the Wolfpack's combined 37.8 percent mark in 12 ACC losses last season.

So it's not going to be terribly complicated for UNC coach Roy Williams and N.C. State's Sidney Lowe when they sort through the improvements that need to be made before both begin league games on Jan. 8.

Obviously, there are other areas that will have to be addressed and in State's case, the health of Tracy Smith (right knee surgery on Friday) could be more important than anything that happened on the court against Georgetown.

But errant shooting is the one aspect of competition that most frequently separates good teams from average teams in college play.

Against reasonably talented opponents, it's almost impossible to win with a shooting performance in the sub 40-percent range. There's plenty of time to develop, but the Pack and Heels proved that point again during the weekend.

-- Caulton Tudor

Monday, November 1, 2010

Duke's Singler, UNC's Barnes headline AP preseason All-America team

Duke senior Kyle Singler was the leading vote-getter - and only repeat selection - on the Associated Press preseason men's basketball All-America team, announced Monday.

Meanwhile, North Carolina's Harrison Barnes is the first freshman to make the list since voting began before the 1986-87 season.

"This is indicative of the great respect that Harrison has nationally, and it's an unbelievable accomplishment for a freshman," UNC coach Roy Williams told the AP. "I know Harrison would agree, however, that it would be even more exciting to make the All-America team that's picked after the season.

"So far in practice, he has shown the ability to grasp things that we are teaching very quickly, he has tremendous concentration and I fully expect that is he going to be a very important player for us from day one."

Singler, who helped lead his team to the NCAA title last season, was listed on 62 of the 65 ballots of the 65-member national media panel. He was on the pre-season first team last season and finished with an honorable mention postseason selection.

"Someone asked me if we don't win a national championship, will it ruin the year? You just never know what to expect in the year and toward the end of the year. We're not worried about that right now," Singler told the AP. "There's so much we can accomplish, especially at the beginning of the year and the middle of the year. There's so much to learn and experience."

Joining Singler and Barnes on the team were Jacob Pullen of Kansas State with 53 votes, Jimmer Fredette of BYU, who received 49 votes, and JaJuan Johnson of Purdue, who got 46. Barnes received the lowest vote total of the starters with 17.

-- Robbi Pickeral