(Photo courtesy Getty Images).
In Chapel Hill, N.C. prior to game time with the Buckeyes matching up against the UNC Tar Heels, there was an anticipation of nerves, a bundle of nerves, that this was going to be a nail-biter. After all, the Tar Heels have a history, certainly all positive (that is if you are a Tar Heel fan!) and the fact that the in the course of this history – specifically between the Buckeyes and the Tar Heels in 13 games overall is 11-2 in favor of UNC….
…But – it didn’t turn out to be a nail-biter after all, did it? The Buckeyes won convincingly 74-49.
Duane Washington Jr. had 18 points and the 6th ranked Buckeyes shot 54% after halftime to beat the 7th ranked Tar Heels of North Carolina 74-49 on Wednesday night, handing the UNC perhaps their most lopsided home loss under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.
E.J. Liddell added 12 points for the Buckeyes (8-0), who led just 29-27 at halftime. But The Ohio State University’s offense started knocking down shots while the defense continued making things a tad more difficult on the University of North Carolina (6-2) just as in the first 20 minutes.
Ohio State outscored UNC 35-13 over the final 15 1/2 minutes to break the game open in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The lead progressively grew until the Buckeyes had surpassed last January’s 83-62 win by Louisville here that stood as the Tar Heels’ worst in the Smith Center under Williams.
Cole Anthony scored 15 points to lead the Tar Heels, though he had to leave briefly during the first half when he sustained a cut near his hairline while being fouled, leaving blood running down the center of his forehead. North Carolina shot just 27.4% and played much of the way without freshman big man Armando Bacot, who exited in the first half with a left ankle injury.
The Tar Heels were returning home from a third-place showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, ending with probably their best complete-game performance to grind out a close win against No. 13 Oregon. Yet Williams said Tuesday the Tar Heels aren’t playing at a fast-enough tempo and their offense, putting it simply, “is not very good.”
That unit found itself up against one of the nation’s toughest defenses in this one. And things only got more difficult when the 6-foot-10 Bacot crumpled to the court after a tip-in at the 12:48 mark, struggling in agony before being assisted off by two teammates. He went off the court while putting no weight on his injured ankle.
Ohio State finished with a 48-32 rebounding advantage and had four players score in double figures.
A GRANDER VIEW:
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: The Buckeyes have been dominant since a 64-56 win against Cincinnati to open the season. They had won their past six games by 19 or more points, including a 76-51 victory against No. 23 Villanova, who at the time was ranked 10th. Currently they are ranked second nationally in Ken Pom’s adjusted defensive efficiency by allowing 84.6 points per 100 possessions. Meaning, opponents had shot 32.9% on the season for the third-best defensive average in the country — this, yes, means that the Buckeyes did not make things any easier on the Tar Heels.
UNC: The Tar Heels are now facing a vicious stretch of the schedule. They lost to the 4th ranked TTUN before holding off the Ducks of Oregon in the Battle 4 Atlantis, then coming home for this top-10 match-up. Thus far they have scored fewer than 80 points in each of their first eight games for the first time since the 1949-50 season.
THE BUCKEYES: The Ohio State University will host Penn State on Saturday in their Big Ten opener. This is scheduled on BTN.
See you there. GO BUCKEYES.