UNC weakness exposed with Hansbrough out

Carolina thumps UNC Pembroke 102-62 but only outrebounds the Braves by 7.

CHAPEL HILL- The last time Tyler Hansbrough watched a North Carolina basketball game – instead of playing in it – was when he sat in the St. Louis stands in 2005, cheering the Tar Heels as they beat Illinois for the national championship. He was a high school senior at the time.

So it was downright odd to see the reigning National Player of the Year at the end of the bench, a part of UNC’s four-player “suit crew,” as top-ranked Carolina thumped UNC Pembroke 102-62 in an exhibition on Saturday night.

“When they announced the starting lineup, I don’t think he knew where to go,” senior Bobby Frasor said.

Hansbrough, who has been sidelined since Oct. 28 with a stress reaction in his right shin, will be re-evaluated Tuesday, coach Roy Williams said. The senior was not available for interviews, and it is still unknown whether he will be ready to play when UNC opens the regular season Saturday against Penn.
But if he isn’t, he will be missed – as shown by Saturday’s performance.

With two starters and two reserves sidelined by injuries – Hansbrough (shin), Marcus Ginyard (foot), Michael Copeland (knee) and freshman Justin Watts (knee) – Carolina looked shaky at the outset.
Freshman Tyler Zeller started in place of Hansbrough and Green started in place of Ginyard, and the Braves took advantage of the shuffle, shooting to an 8-2 lead.

Carolina, as should be expected with so much depth and experience, sped back, though, and used a 17-0 run to take a 37-19 lead with 5:06 left in the first half.

Leading 44-25 at halftime, UNC dominated Division II UNCP in the second half.

But one glaring stat: the Tar Heels only outrebounded the Braves by seven, despite the fact that UNC Pembroke didn’t start a player taller than 6-foot-5.

“You can even tell in practice, we just play differently when he (Tyler) is not there,” Frasor said. Forward Deon Thompson led the team in rebounding with 10.

*****from Robbie Pickeral, at*****

+++++Marcus Heath from Greensboro’s Dudley High School had a three-pointer for UNC-Pembroke.+++++

Marcus Heath from Greensboro’s Dudley High School had three-pointer for the UNC-Pembroke Braves.