Rapid Reaction: UNC 68, Wake Forest 53
January, 31, 2012
By Robbi Pickeral | ESPN.com
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A quick look at No. 6 North Carolina’s 68-53 win at Wake Forest on Tuesday:
What it means: The Tar Heels know how to win ugly. Both teams shot horribly (UNC 31 percent, Wake 29.6 percent), but UNC used a 50-36 rebounding margin to help win its fourth straight game. The Demon Deacons have now lost six of their last seven.
How it happened: UNC led 17-10 early, before Wake put together a 7-0 run to tie it. With star forward Harrison Barnes back in the locker room, having his left ankle re-taped (see below), the Tar Heels put together a 13-4 breakaway to take back the lead.
The Tar Heels led 36-24 at halftime, and although Wake never really threatened, UNC struggled to pull away further. Tyler Zeller was the only Tar Heel to score for the first nine or so minutes of the second half -- until freshman James Michael McAdoo, John Henson and Barnes jump-started a run.
UNC finally took a 20-point lead with 6:32 left on a Kendall Marshall breakaway.
Zeller led the Tar Heels with 18 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, while Marshall (14), Barnes (13) and Henson (14 points, 12 rebounds) also scored in double figures.
C.J. Harris led the Deacs with 19 points.
Number to know: The Tar Heels became the first team to reach 600 ACC regular season wins; they are now 600-240 all-time in league play. Duke entered this week with 551 ACC wins, followed by Maryland (428), NC State (411) and Wake Forest (400).
Injury Report: The Tar Heels got a scare when Barnes left the game, and the court, with about seven minutes left in the first half after rolling his left ankle. He had it re-taped in the locker room, returned to the game with less than two minutes left, and hit a free throw, then a 3-pointer. He had seven points at halftime, and was seen grimacing in the hallway before coming back onto the court before second-half warm-ups. He was back on the floor when the second half started, and finished with seven rebounds to go along with his 13 points.
What’s next: The Tar Heels travels to Maryland to play the Terrapins on Saturday. The Demon Deacons also go on the road Saturday, to N.C. State.
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.