Bullock, McAdoo lead Heels over Maryland
To say North Carolina (12-5, 2-2) beat Maryland (14-4, 2-3) 62-52 is an insufficient way of describing what happened on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. In the first half, the Tar Heels looked like a dominant team of old, blowing out Maryland 42-20 and forcing Maryland into 15 turnovers.
“We don’t feel good about the way we played in the second half but in the first half, we were pretty doggone good,” North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said. “We were so active defensively...We were unselfish, moved (the ball) and did all those things we like to do on the offensive end.”
It took Maryland over three minutes to score and nearly nine minutes to score nine points, and North Carolina turned Maryland’s 15 first-half turnovers into 14 points. But it was all Reggie Bullock initially for UNC, as he had a career-high 24 points.
Bullock scored UNC’s first eight points in the first 1:26. He had 10 of UNC’s first 11 points and 18 of its first 29. He slowed down a bit later in the half and was scoreless from the 2:10 mark of the first half until 5:50 remained in the game.
In the first half, Bullock shot 6-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three, adding 6-of-7 foul shots for a very pretty 21 points. In the second, he was just 1-of-6 from the floor (1-of-3 from three) and didn’t attempt a foul shot.
“(Maryland) tried to get up in me, and there were a couple of shots point-blank that I just missed,” Bullock said of his slower second half.
“That was just me not focusing on the rim, worrying about the contact. Those are things that I definitely have to work on, being able to drive to the basket and finish strong, not looking for the contact. I missed some easy point-blank ones, but at the same time, there were some shots that I was wide open that I’ve got to be able to knock down.”
James Michael McAdoo carried the load in the second half. He had eight second-half points (nearly half UNC’s total of 20). He finished with his first double-double in over a month with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“First half, (Bullock) and (McAdoo) did carry us. There’s no question about that. And they should. They’re the most experienced players and guys that we ask to do more. But it was pretty in the first half, guys. I don’t mind telling you it was pretty. It looked like North Carolina basketball.” Williams said.
McAdoo shot just 3-of-9 in the second half, but he and Bullock weren’t the only ones struggling against one of the better defenses in the league. The Tar Heels shot a paltry 23.5 percent from the floor in the second half, its lowest since shooting 22.6 percent in the second half against Kansas last season in the Elite 8. It was also Carolina’s first time winning a game while shooting under 40 percent since February of last year.
The Tar Heels looked timid and tentative offensively against a Maryland defense that was set, more often than not. UNC had eight of its 10 fastbreak points in the first half in addition to all 14 of its points off Maryland turnovers. In the second half, UNC had a hard time scoring against Maryland’s halfcourt defense, and had to score 11 of its 20 points in the second half on offensive rebounds.
Maryland was led by Dez Wells, who had 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The rest of the Terrapins combined to shoot 13-of-42 from the floor.
Maryland had just six second-half turnovers and shot 46 percent in the second half after 33.3 percent in the first, which is part of why the Terrapins “won” the second half, 32-20.
McAdoo and Bullock had most of North Carolina’s points but that’s the way it should be for the Tar Heels, according to their head coach. It was the highest percentage of Carolina’s scoring the two have combined to do all season.
“If we’re going to be a really good team, the best players have got to play. The really good teams, their best players don’t play one game and then take five games off because they wouldn’t be their best players,” Williams said. “Those are our two leaders on the court and they’ve got to play that way.”