“We saw a big-time basketball team play in a tough environment,” Roy Williams said immediately following his team’s third setback in four games.
Carolina (11-5, 3-3 ACC) was outplayed in nearly all aspects of the game.
BC’s biggest lead was 42-30 at the half. And with a working margin, the Eagles (15-4, 3-3 ACC) were able to keep UNC basically at arm’s length the rest of the way; and in the meantime winning their third straight conference game after dropping the first three.
Boston College shot 54 percent from the field and forced the Tar Heels (11-5, 3-3) into 19 turnovers, while enjoying a 23-to-nine assist to turnover ratio of its own.
“We wanted to make sure we executed our offense and didn’t allow them to take us out of our offense,” BC coach Al Skinner said. “By doing that we knew what our looks were going to be. We talk about shot selection and handling the basketball and that’s real important for us.”
Hansbrough, who has scored 20 or more points in five of his last seven outings, was 9-for-13 from the floor – including his first three-pointer of the season – to go with 7-of-9 shooting at the free throw line.
Danny Green gave the Tar Heels a spark off the bench with 16 points and Reyshawn Terry chipped in 10.
The BC scouting report forewarned of Craig Smith and Jared Dudley – the team’s scoring leaders at forward. But it was Sean Marshall and Tyrese Rice who each netted 11 points in the first half, as again the Tar Heels struggled defensively on the perimeter.
Carolina connected on back-to-back three pointers to start the second half and quickly cut the deficit in half. But shoddy ball handling by the Tar Heels resulted in three straight turnovers. A couple of buckets later and the Eagles were again ahead by double digits, frustrating most of the 21,015 fans in attendance.
Behind 53-43 with 12:23 remaining, and with little regard for its fine tailoring, Williams flung his sport jacket in disgust of a referee’s call. By then the mood in the Smith Center was so sour, not even the Blues Brothers mimic act could ease the tension.
Carolina mounted several counter attacks down the stretch, managing to trim the lead to two at the 5:35 mark, but was unable to stop the veteran Eagles’ squad on a single possession down the stretch.
“It seemed like every time we’d get right there where I thought we could get over the hump, we couldn’t get a stop,” Williams said. “In a big moment, we had a four-point game and Marcus [Ginyard] has got a wide-open three from the corner and misses. Then Rice goes down and makes a three. So, we had a chance to cut it down to one and it goes to seven in about ten seconds.”
To make matters worse for Carolina, Smith (16 points) and Dudley (17 points) factored more in the BC offense in the second half, while getting key offensive rebounds when UNC was desperately in search of defensive stops.
Rice finished with 16 points – one of five Eagles to score in double figures.
“They did what they do in practice every day,” Williams said. “We were not able to take them out of anything. We’ve got to get stronger.”
The Tar Heels return to action Saturday for their final non-conference tilt of the regular season – a home match-up with Arizona (13-6, 6-3 Pac-10). Tip-off for the nationally televised game is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CBS).