CHAPEL HILL – UNC Basketball scored a 15-point win over Northern Kentucky on Saturday, but head coach Roy Williams wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance—especially after a lackluster first half.
“My staff did a great job, because what I wanted to do was stay out at halftime and run sprints the entire frickin’ half,” he said after the game. “They thought it was not the right thing to do, but God, I wanted to do that so badly…
“I’m going to do that one of these days. I know, by God, we’ll make SportsCenter then.”
Williams changed 80 percent of his starting lineup between the first and second halves on Saturday in order to send his players a message. It paid off, as the second team pulled away in the first few minutes of the half—but Carolina still had to settle for an unimpressive victory over an unheralded opponent, with ACC play now just a week away.
At his postgame press conference Saturday, Williams singled out a few players—including Brice Johnson, who scored 9 points on 4-8 shooting against Northern Kentucky but has struggled since he led the Heels in scoring three weeks ago against UNC-G.
“I (was) just straightforward: I told him, you’ve got to get playing basketball again,” he said. “Brice is another one that’s going to be a really good player–he’s just got to get the mojo going.”
But with ACC opponents just around the corner, Williams is ready to move on. (And he’s also ready to move on from the PJ Hairston debacle, as evidenced by his response to a reporter who asked if Hairston would remain on the Carolina bench. “Guys, I’m trying to coach the guys I have,” he said. “Jesus Christ, he’s not on our team. I love him to death, but he’s not on our team.”)
ACC play begins for Carolina on January 5 at Wake Forest, but the Tar Heels have one more non-conference opponent to face before then, as UNC-Wilmington comes to town on New Year’s Eve. That game tips off at 5:00 in the Smith Center; coverage on WCHL begins with Countdown to Tipoff at 3:30.