North Carolina has outscored its last two opponents by an average of 28 points, but coach Roy Williams still sees plenty of room for improvement from his offense.
The second-ranked Tar Heels will look to make their coach a little happier on Tuesday when they host Florida Atlantic.
The Tar Heels (8-1) returned from their exam break Saturday and routed North Carolina-Asheville 93-62 for their fifth straight victory. Freshman Brandan Wright led four players in double figures with game highs of 21 points and nine rebounds for North Carolina, which beat High Point 94-69 in its previous game on Dec. 9.
Still, Williams went so far as to say his team “stunk it up” on offense.
“We’ve got to do a better job offensively of not trying to go on your own,” he said. “We don’t have bad kids. They’re not selfish. They just say, ‘Well, we haven’t scored. I can score.’ But the bottom line is it has to be, ‘We can score.”’
Williams’ team understands his frustration, despite the fact that it ranks among the best squads in the country with 90.4 points per game.
“It is strange, but at the same time we always talk about not just scoring 93 points, but how we’re scoring 93 points,” sophomore Marcus Ginyard said.
“Everybody can feel it. Everybody knows what Coach wants and the way he wants to play. It doesn’t take Coach to be stomping like that to know we’re not doing something right. … It’s just something we’ve got to take upon ourselves to really start doing by ourselves without our coaches yelling at us like that.”
Freshman Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough, who leads the Tar Heels with 18.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, each had 15 points on Saturday. North Carolina’s only loss this season was an 82-74 defeat to No. 22 Gonzaga on Nov. 22 in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Tar Heels moved up one spot in Monday’s rankings after Pittsburgh lost to Wisconsin on Saturday and fell from second to seventh.
“North Carolina is great at execution,” UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said. “Their only problem is their lack of experience having freshmen in there. But those freshmen are very good players and they have so much room to improve. To be such a good team with young players, there’s no telling how good they can be.”
Sophomore Bobby Frasor missed his second straight game and fourth straight start because of a sore right foot Saturday. Frasor, who is averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 assists in seven games, is listed as questionable against Florida Atlantic (4-5).
“I would probably say, unless something weird happens, he will not play Tuesday night,” Williams said.
The Owls have won four of five, including a 91-87 victory over Troy on Wednesday in their first game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Paul Graham, who leads the team with 16.6 points per game, left the win with an ankle injury and is questionable against the Tar Heels.
Florida Atlantic, however, will get back last season’s leading scorer. DeAndre Rice, who missed the first part of the season after being suspended by coach Rex Walters for skipping class and then being ruled academically ineligible, averaged 16.1 points per game last season.
Eni Cuka, a freshman transfer from Nigeria who did not enroll until after the first semester last year, will be eligible to make his debut for the Owls.
North Carolina and Florida Atlantic are meeting for the first time. Walters played for Williams at Kansas from 1991-93 before being selected by the New Jersey Nets with the 16th overall pick in the NBA draft.