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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tarred and smothered

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – If this was supposed to be a highly contested big game that people would remember for a long time, one team failed to live up to its end of the bargain.

    The Arizona men’s basketball (13-7, 6-3 Pacific 10 Conference) failed to show up for a majority of the game Saturday afternoon as North Carolina (12-5) blew them out of Chapel Hill, 86-69, in front of a packed Dean Dome.

    “”I’m disappointed that we didn’t put up a better fight,”” Arizona head coach Lute Olson said.

    North Carolina freshman forward Tyler Hansbrough was never flashy, but he sure was effective, ignoring the double teams of juniors center Kirk Walters and forward Ivan Radenovic to put up 21 points and 11 rebounds.

    Hansbrough dominated the paint, going over and through Wildcat defenders despite being a few inches shorter than Arizona’s post players.

    “”It kind of seemed like Walters was a 7-footer out of there, and he was pretty tough, but I think positioning on the floor (was the key) and I played real well,”” Hansbrough said.

    When Hansbrough decided to kick it out, the Tar Heels refused to miss, making 9-of-17 3-pointers. The Tar Heels shot a season-high 56.7 percent from the field while also dishing 23 assists, matching a season high.

    “”They’re a great shooting team and when you have to drop … they did a good job of finding the open man,”” Olson said.

    With the score tied at 31 and 2:43 left in the first half, North Carolina went on an 8-0 run capped by freshman guard Bobby Frasor’s 27-footer at the buzzer. The Tar Heels would use that momentum in the second half to slowly build on their lead, taking the margin to as high as 20 with 9:31 left to play.

    “”That was a big shot for us, and then when we came out in the second half we just came out with that much more firepower, and I think that definitely put us over the hump,”” senior forward David Noel said.

    Defensively, North Carolina put the clamps on senior guard Hassan Adams’ high-flying act. Adams was forced into a 6-of-14 shooting effort that included no dunks and a variety of fadeaway jump shots.

    “”In high school, I was never known as a defensive player and Hassan Adams is probably the best guard we’ve faced this year, the most athletic guard,”” Frasor said. “”The best way to play a player like that is to not let him get the ball, and I think that’s what I really concentrated on doing tonight, and I did a good job.””

    Adams, who averages 19.5 points per game, had his lowest scoring output (12 points) since the first game of the season when he scored 10 against Kansas Nov. 21.

    “”He made a couple of jump shots,”” Frasor said. “”He’s their best player, but I’m sure it wasn’t the type of game he would have liked to be in.””

    Arizona once again struggled to shoot the ball, especially in the first half, when they hit only 39.5 percent of their field goals and went 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.

    Junior point guard Wes Miller, making his third career start for the Tar Heels, made four of five 3-point attempts en route to 14 points. He also scored his first two-point basket since Dec. 3, breaking a streak of 28 straight field goals from 3-point range.

    An Arizona strength and North Carolina weakness both revolved around turnovers. Coming into the game the Wildcats were forcing 21.5 turnovers per game and the Tar Heels were turning it over 17.8 times per game, but Arizona only forced 13 North Carolina miscues.

    The 16-point defeat was the Wildcats’ worst loss of the season, with the previous coming in Arizona’s 75-65 loss at Oregon State Jan. 12.

    “”There’s no question the team that played the hardest and the smartest … won,”” Olson said.


    Olson did not let players speak to the media after the game, saying the team had to catch a flight and did not have the time to allow access to the student-athletes.

    Olson has done this before on the road, the last time in a 69-65 loss at Houston Dec. 3, but player quotes were released to the media following the team’s exit.

    Adams said the team must move on from this game.

    “”Just like any other game, we need to put this behind us and look at some film,”” he said. “”We wanted a ‘W’ but we have to learn from it either way. We’ll bounce back from this.””

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