Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The 19th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will close out their six-game homestand as well as their non-conference schedule on Tuesday when they welcome the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks to the Dean Smith Center.
UNCW has been trending in the wrong direction in recent weeks with three consecutive losses, including a setback last Saturday at UNC Asheville, 75-61. The losing streak has caused the Seahawks to dip to 6-8 on the season and 3-5 on the road.
UNC has been far from flawless this season at 9-3, which includes a couple of losses on its home floor, but it has also shown signs of brilliance, making its mark with wins over nationally-ranked squads Louisville (93-84) and Michigan State (79-65), the only loss of the year for each respective squad. The Tar Heels most recently took care of business at home versus Northern Kentucky on Friday night, 75-60.
Surprisingly, these intrastate foes have only faced off twice before, with UNC winning in 2003 and 2004.
The Seahawks performed poorly on both ends of the court in their most recent bout, as they shot just 34.4 percent from the floor and committed 17 turnovers while allowing UNCA to make good on 50 percent of its field goal tries. Freddie Jackson scored 15 points in the setback, while Cedrick Williams came off the bench to tally 15 points and eight rebounds. Tanner Milson was also effective in reserve minutes, putting up 12 points on 3-of-8 from 3-point range.
The season has not been kind to UNCW's offense, as it shoots just 41.1 percent from the field (including a meager 23.7 percent from beyond the arc) for 67.1 ppg, 5.4 ppg fewer than it allows on defense. Williams is the catalyst, as he scores 14.1 ppg on 55.6 percent from the field while also contributing elsewhere with 7.2 rpg, 2.0 bpg and 1.1 spg. Addison Spruill (12.1 ppg) is the only other player to net in double figures, although he does so behind a lackluster field-goal percentage (.371).
The Tar Heels allowed NKU to hang around well into the second half of their latest game, but clinging to a seven-point lead with under 14 minutes to play, they pulled away with a 7-0 run and led by double digits for the rest of the game. The squad shot 47.1 percent from the field on the evening while holding its opponent to just 33.3 percent. James Michael McAdoo paced the effort with 14 points, and Marcus Paige narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Leslie McDonald also scored 11 points coming off the bench, while Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto netted nine points apiece and combined for five blocked shots.
On the season, UNC boasts an outstanding offense, scoring 79.8 ppg (for a +9.8 scoring margin) on 47 percent from the field. All that success has come with a minimal threat from 3-point range, as it makes less than four long-range buckets per contest. Paige has emerged during his sophomore season as the team's top scorer, posting 18.7 ppg, while also getting his teammates involved with 4.0 apg. McAdoo (14.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg), McDonald (11.7 ppg), Johnson (11.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Tokoto (10.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) round out one of the nation's deepest arsenal of scorers.