‘Pretty’ first half turns ‘ugly’ for Heels in 62-52 win
Chances are pretty good Reggie Bullock will reset his scoring high before leaving North Carolina’s basketball program.
For now, when he remembers the new benchmark of 24 points from a 62-52 victory over Maryland, he’s going to have mixed emotions. Just like his coach.
In a first half that brought whispers of “uh-oh, look at Carolina,” Bullock scored the first eight points and finished the half a point ahead of the entire Terrapin team. Roy Williams called the Tar Heels’ 42-20 lead “really, really pretty” basketball.
In the same breath he dubbed the second half “ugly” and few among the 20,000-plus faithful in the Smith Center or watching via national television would disagree.
“We came out with a great sense of urgency in the first half,” Bullock said. “Everybody was making the right rotations, and everybody was sharing the ball. We were just having fun out there playing Carolina basketball.”
The Tar Heels (12-5, 2-2 ACC) didn’t have to help expose Maryland (14-4, 2-3 ACC) much. Fresh off a win over league-leading N.C. State, the Terps did that to themselves, spastic as their football program’s uniforms and inept as a squad of Saturday morning recreation tykes.
Maryland racked up 15 turnovers and assisted just two of nine made shots.
“We were unselfish and did all the things we would want to do,” Williams said. “In the second half, we got away from what we had done defensively. We had some good shots that shooters were taking, but didn’t make them.”
Bullock’s first half included six of nine makes from the floor, and seven trips (six made) to the foul line. Inside presence James Michael McAdoo added 11 points and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“I wanted him to shoot it every time the first half,” Williams said of Bullock. “Second half, I didn’t want him to shoot a single frickin’ time. Shooting isn’t the issue. Making the shot is what matters.”
Bullock said teammates screened and found him with passes. He said they did the same in the second half, but he failed to knock down the shots.
“I was struggling a little bit,” Bullock said. “It was me not being able to knock the shots down.
“We came out flat a little bit. We weren’t showing as much urgency on the defensive end of the floor, so we have to get back in practice and work on those things.”
As a whole, the Tar Heels said they were still dealing with the inconsistencies that have plagued them throughout the year. Offensively, it included Dexter Strickland going 2-for-6, Marcus Paige 1-for-7 and P.J. Hairston 1-for-8.
“We have to bring consistency to both halves in every game,” Bullock said.
“At Florida State we had more sense of urgency, took care of the basketball and never got selfish,” Williams said. “Today, the first half was really, really pretty, and the second half was ugly. Young guys do that.
“P.J., he has a wide open 3, two screens, everybody on the bench wanted him to shoot the ball, and he drove in against 77 guys and turned it over.”
Williams wasn’t dwelling on the second half, just remaining cognizant of it. He said he’ll praise the first half and teach from the second.
“When you’re younger, you see a 22-point lead and you think everything is going to be rosey, but this is the ACC and no one in this league is going to stop,” Williams said. “I’m one of those guys that wants to see it all the time.”
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