CHAPEL HILL– The 9-3 North Carolina basketball team will be looking to polish up its play Tuesday in a 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve match-up with 6-8 UNC-Wilmington.
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No. 19 UNC will be welcoming back one of its own in the form of Buzz Peterson, the head coach for the Seahawks. Peterson was a member of the 1982 national championship squad under Dean Smith and then assistant coach Roy Williams.
But Head Coach Roy Williams will not be in the mood to do any favors for Peterson in Carolina’s final non-conference game of the season. He says he was disappointed in the defense and the lack of attacking mentality in the win against Northern Kentucky on Friday.
“I was not pleased defensively, on the backboards or attacking the basket. We had a tremendous size advantage, and one of our goals was to attack the basket. We didn’t get a single low-post up or taking the ball to the basket the entire first half. I was pretty frustrated with that,” Coach Williams says.
Coach Williams says he hopes the cause for the erratic play is immaturity because he knows it can be corrected.
“I hope it is because maturity means that we can get there. Lack of maturity now means that we can get there eventually, so I hope that’s what it is. We are an extremely young club, but also we’ve played 12 games. We’ve got to be able to bring it,” Coach Williams says.
Senior guard Leslie McDonald’s return to the lineup has been a welcome boost to UNC’s outside shooting. Coach Williams says McDonald’s ability to knock down shots will come in handy later in the season.
“Leslie does have an ability to shoot the ball. That really helps us, and it’s hopefully going to help us even more down the line,” Coach Williams says.
Junior forward Desmond Hubert says the Tar Heels need to start playing with the same effort and intensity against the lower-ranked teams in order to establish a consistent identity on the squad.
“We’ve won big games, and then we’ve had a few letdowns. I think our biggest thing is just trying to get our effort. We’re just trying to sustain the same effort that we have in the big games. […] Just because they’re not a top-25 team doesn’t mean that it should be less important. We’re just trying to establish more effort in those games,” Hubert says.
Tuesday’s ‘Happy Blue Year’ game in Chapel Hill will be the third overall contest between Carolina and UNC-W. The Tar Heels lead the series 2-0.