Wil­liams un­happy with turnovers

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JONATHAN M. ALEXAN­DER jalexan­der@new­sob­server.com

North Carolina coach Roy Wil­liams was up­set.

After a 107-64 win over Mount Olive in an ex­hi­bi­tion game at the Dean Smith Cen­ter Fri­day night, Wil­liams still had trou­ble iden­ti­fy­ing many things he liked from the game.

“The video boards,” Wil­liams quipped. “They re­ally looked good.”

Wil­liams was up­set with the Tar Heels’ turnovers. UNC had 26 as­sists and 22 turnovers in the game. And his two point guards – Coby White and Sev­enth Woods – were re­spon­si­ble for eight of them. UNC starts its reg­u­lar sea­son Tues­day against Wof­ford, which up­set the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last year 79-75.

“That’s one of the three things we’ve been em­pha­siz­ing more than any­thing else this pre­sea­son, is not turn­ing the ball over,” Wil­liams said, “so we’ve got to do a bet­ter job there.”

As Wil­liams de­scribed it, Fri­day’s ex­hi­bi­tion game against Mount Olive was like a “glo­ri­fied prac­tice.”

UNC tog­gled with dif­fer­ent line­ups through­out the game – some last­ing for only four min­utes at a time. Wil­liams said in Oc­to­ber at UNC’s me­dia day that he wanted to use two big men on the floor to­gether. He ex­per­i­mented with that on Fri­day.

He started sopho­more Gar­ri­son Brooks, se­niors Luke Maye, Cam John­son, Kenny Wil­liams, and White, who is a fresh­man. At times the play was sloppy, but the five played well to­gether against the Divi­sion II school.

Brooks led all scor­ers with 16 points and added 16 re­bounds.

Wil­liams also went small. He started the sec­ond half with 6-8, 240pound Maye at the cen­ter po­si­tion, 6-9, 210-pound John­son at power for­ward, and 6-6, 220-pound fresh­man Nas­sir Lit­tle at small for­ward, with Kenny Wil­liams and White at the guards.

Five play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures for the Tar Heels.

John­son, who had an arthro­scopic hip pro­ce­dure done in the spring, said he was feel­ing fine after the game. John­son said this sea­son he plans to do what­ever he can for the team.

“It’s my last year, it’s Kenny’s last year, and Luke’s, and hon­estly, we just want to win,” John­son said.

In UNC’s quest to get back to the na­tional cham­pi­onship game, it will lean on those three se­niors. Wil­liams was sec­ond in scor­ing with 15 points.

Maye, who was the ACC’s Most Im­proved Player for the 2017-18 sea­son, had eight points and five re­bounds Fri­day. He said his goal this year is to make plays and con­tinue to be a team player.

“I need to re­bound bet­ter, and shoot it a lit­tle bit bet­ter, but I think those things will come,” Maye said. “I know what I can do, and just go­ing out there and do­ing it is the big­gest thing for me.”

Re­plac­ing se­nior guard Joel Berry and wing Theo Pin­son will be dif­fi­cult for the Tar Heels. But they ap­pear to have some­thing in their fresh­men.

White, a 6-5, 185-pound fresh­man point guard ran the show for the Tar Heels. He is one of three fresh­men on this year’s squad who came into the sea­son with high ex­pec­ta­tions. The oth­ers were Lit­tle, who was the No. 3 ranked re­cruit com­ing out of high school, and Leaky Black, a 6-7, 185-pound fresh­man who can play guard or for­ward.

Lit­tle showed off his ath­leti­cism through­out the game. He caught an al­ley­oop pass from sopho­more guard An­drew Platek with 7:40 left in the sec­ond half to put the Tar Heels up 93-48.

Much of the talk head­ing into the sea­son had been around Lit­tle and White, both of which were McDon­ald’s All-Amer­i­cans and five-star re­cruits.

But Black showed on Fri­day that he could be a valu­able piece off the bench for the Tar Heels. He made plays and was ag­gres­sive on de­fense. His size makes him a mis­match for op­pos­ing point guards.

“He has re­ally played well too,” Wil­liams said. “He is prob­a­bly a bet­ter bas­ket­ball player in­stinc­tively than we have had in quite a while.” Still, Wil­liams pointed one of Black’s turnovers.

This year, UNC trav­els to Wof­ford for its game on Nov. 6.

“If I’m Wof­ford and get that tape, I would def­i­nitely press us be­cause we looked so ragged about what we were try­ing to do,” Wil­liams said.

ROBERT WIL­LETT rwil­lett@new­sob­server.com

North Carolina’s Kenny Wil­liams shoots over Mt. Olive’s Dar­ius Spra­gley on Fri­day at the Smith Cen­ter in Chapel Hill.

ROBERT WIL­LETT rwil­lett@new­sob­server.com

North Carolina’s Bran­don Robin­son gets a dunk on a fast break dur­ing the sec­ond half against Mt. Olive on Fri­day at the Smith Cen­ter in Chapel Hill. UNC won 107-64.

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