North Carolina has two games left before ACC play begins to try to please an angry Roy Williams.
The No. 9 Tar Heels return to action Wednesday night against Albany after a lackluster effort that left their coach seething.
North Carolina (10-3) used a 10-0 run to close out an 81-67 win over Rutgers on Monday. The Tar Heels, though, nearly blew a 17-point lead in the final 10 minutes.
“I’m really not in a good mood about any dumb things that they did right now,” Williams said.
At one point, Williams was so irked that he slammed his right hand down on his chair and slouched in his seat on the bench after the Tar Heels had to burn a timeout with about 3 minutes left.
“We’ve got to do a better job,” Williams said. “We had the break where we had two pretty good practices, we just didn’t convert it to the game. You look down there and you have six guys in double figures and you like that, but guys, you’ve just got to play better.”
Freshman Dexter Strickland scored 18 points to lead the way and Deon Thompson added 14 for North Carolina, which shot 45.8 percent - its lowest percentage in a victory in 2009-10.
The Tar Heels travel to face the College of Charleston next Monday before their ACC opener at home against Virginia Tech on Jan. 10.
Thompson is averaging a team-high 15.9 points for the Tar Heels, who lost their top four scorers from last season’s national championship club.
“We have the talent to be a very, very good team and have all the pieces to be a very, very good team,” Thompson said. “What we do in practice, we just have to do in games. We do everything perfect in practice and then we get in the games and then it seems like we just forget everything.”
Fifth-year senior swingman Marcus Ginyard is doubtful for this game. Ginyard sat out Monday after spraining his right ankle on a drive to the basket during Saturday’s practice.
North Carolina is facing Albany (4-9) for the first time. The Great Danes aren’t expected to provide much of a challenge as they conclude a stretch of eight consecutive road games, breaking the previous mark of five straight to start the 2004-05 season.
Albany has lost three straight and six of seven in this stretch. The Great Danes last played in a 68-56 loss to Loyola of Chicago last Tuesday, shooting 39.3 percent and making 5 of 20 3-pointers.
“Their frontcourt dominated our frontcourt,” coach Will Brown said. “We did some good things on defense. We pressured the ball and our energy was good. But they made us pay for every mistake and we take way too many 3-pointers.”
Senior forward Will Harris is the best player for the Great Danes, averaging 15.3 points. Harris, though, scored eight points last week for the second time in three games as he struggled against bigger defenders.