Well. The #BEATUNC campaign went about as well as a third-party run for the Presidency. Not Ross Perot or John Anderson or Ralph Nader. Think Lyndon LaRouche. Or The Rent Is Too Damn High guy, if he’d tried to run for national office instead of limiting his sights to our fine state.
North Carolina never trailed Thursday in routing our beloved Flying Dutchmen, 107-63. The Dutchmen will play Western Kentucky, which lost to Minnesota, tonight at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.com. If you have Cablevision, you’re screwed!
I’m writing this much later than I would have liked (getting about eight hours of sleep and driving 300-odd miles in a span of two days equaled an epic crash last night), so we’ll go with the quick bullet points for this recap and get back to the usual format tomorrow.
—As discouraging as it is to watch Hofstra lose by 44 (hey, it could have been worse, imagine if Roy Williams was from the Jim Larranaga coaching tree THAT’S A JOKE MASON NATION RELAX), don’t read too much into it. There’s no beating a team that was as red-hot as North Carolina was in the first half last night, when the Tar Heels were 8-of-9 from 3-point land. The Tar Heels actually shot better overall in the second half (58.8 percent) than the first half (54.1 percent). The conference season should still be an interesting and compelling one, because…
—…any doubt the Dutchmen have the best player in the CAA was erased when Charles Jenkins was battling National Player of the Year favorite Harrison Barnes for best player on the court honors in the first half Thursday. Jenkins finished 24 points, 20 of which he had in a sizzling first half in which he shot 9-of-11 and scored from all over the court. I know he’s probably viewed as a “tweener” by NBA scouts, but whomever takes a chance on Jenkins next year (or whenever the NBA resumes) is going to be very happy. Jenkins has gotten better against better competition: After shooting 18-of-45 and committing 11 turnovers against Kansas and UConn last year, Jenkins shot 11-of-18 and turned the ball over just three times against the Tar Heels. With Jenkins in the fold, the Dutchmen will be in every game in the CAA.
—Mike Moore had a decent night that indicated he’s ready to become the reliable second scorer the Dutchmen have lacked the last two years. Moore was just 6-of-14, including 1-of-5 from 3-point land, in scoring 15 points but attacked the basket regularly and pulled down five boards, second-most on the Dutchmen. Moore’s willingness to slash and scrap in the paint will be a huge key for a Dutchmen team lacking height and depth.
—The most encouraging player in the front court, by far, was David Imes, who almost pulled off the Halil Kanacevic by producing a double-double in his first action against a nationally ranked foe. Imes had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds and was the Dutchmen’s most physical player all night. He muscled his way for three rebounds on a single possession in the second half and delivered the hardest foul of the night when he leveled Justin Knox in the first half. Most promising stat: Despite being dwarfed by the Tar Heels’ bigs, Imes finished with just that one foul in a career-high 31 minutes. On such a thin and small team, the Dutchmen will need Imes to stay on the court for 30-plus minutes every night.
—Greg Washington (four points, four rebounds, four fouls) had another quiet game against a big-time foe and Dwan McMillan (three points, two assists, three turnovers and four fouls) had a tough debut against a Division I foe. McMillan almost lost his cool when he was flagged for a flagrant foul against Tyler Zeller (who, in McMillan’s defense, is like eight feet tall) and his struggles are more concerning than Washington’s. We know what Washington can do when he’s on his game in the CAA, but the Dutchmen need McMillan to provide stability at point guard, especially in the early going with Brad Kelleher out.
—Your good friend and mine Mike Litos notes today the Dutchmen lost the loose ball count by something like 158-3. That, unfortunately, seems about right. Possible blog bias assessment: It’s not something to worry about unless it happens again today. In the first half, in particular, the brilliance of the Tar Heels seemed to stun and slow the Dutchmen.
—Mo Cassara’s concerns about the Dutchmen’s depth were well-founded, at least Thursday. The Dutchmen got just nine points from their bench, including a last-minute 3-pointer from walk-on Matt Grogan. Stephen Nwaukoni had three rebounds but four fouls in 13 minutes while Roland Brown and Paul Bilbo looked similarly raw in their limited duty. Shemiye McLendon and Yves Jules had almost as many turnovers (five) as points (six). Kelleher will help come Dec. 11 and Nathaniel Lester will certainly be welcomed if he can make it back from his quad injury.
—Some fun facts: This was the most lopsided loss for Hofstra since 1972-73, when Long Beach State beat the Dutchmen, 97-49, in the Nassau Classic at Nassau Coliseum. That’s right: Long Beach State flew 3,000 miles to beat by 48 points a team that walked across the street. Long Beach State was coached by Jerry Tarkanian, which means the NCAA read this sentence and tacked on another couple games to Kelleher’s punishment. It was also the most points the Dutchmen had allowed since Brigham Young racked up 119 in the third game of the 1983-84 season. North Carolina fell one point shy of the Defiantly Dutch-era record for points—108 by Drexel in the 1995 NAC Tournament.
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. North Carolina, 11/18)
3: Charles Jenkins
2: Mike Moore
1: David Imes
Charles Jenkins 6
Mike Moore 2
Greg Washington 2
David Imes 1
Shemiye McLendon 1