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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Rapid Reaction: UNC 102, Tennessee St. 69

By Robbi Pickeral


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A quick look at top-ranked North Carolina’s 102-69 win over Tennessee State on Tuesday night:

What it means: That the Tar Heels might not have to fret about their outside shooting … at least for a few days. After connecting on less than 29 percent of their shots from behind the arc in their first three games, they were 7-for-10 from 3-point land in the first half, and 11-for-18 for the game. Sophomore reserve Reggie Bullock led the charge, getting a career-high 23 points, including six 3-pointers.

How it happened: TSU was feisty early, cutting a double-digit deficit to 37-33 during the first half. But UNC countered with a 9-2 run to take control back. The Tar Heels got a little bit of everything from everybody: Bullock recorded his first double-digit game since he was sidelined by a knee injury last season. Kendall Marshall doled out 15 assists. John Henson finished with another double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds, plus four blocks and a career-high 6 assists). Harrison Barnes also chipped in 16 points.

Star watch: It was the third time in Marshall’s career (24 starts) that he’s doled out 15 assists in a game. No other player in school history has done it more than once.

Hubbub: There was a great moment at halftime, when UNC honored the mom of TSU’s MJ Rhett. Stephanie Rhett, an army sergeant, had been serving in Iraq since September, but surprised her son in the locker room before the game. The footage was shown on the video boards, and mom received great applause from the crowd at the Smith Center. Rhett is from Hopkins, S.C.

Number to note: 5,518 -- miles the Tigers will travel during the first three weeks of their schedule. Last week, they played games at Saint Louis and Western Kentucky. Sunday, they played at Columbia, S.C. Next up: Las Vegas.

What's next: UNC travels to Las Vegas on Wednesday, and will play South Carolina in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night. Saturday, the Tar Heels will face either USC or UNLV.

Check back for more later.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp