February 24, 2010

Heels can't stop Seminoles hitting from outside

CHAPEL HILL - It seemed only appropriate that on a night when North Carolina was wearing silver uniforms to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Jordan brand it would end up trailing by as many as 23 points.

Not surprisingly, changing attire didn't produce a change in UNC's results. The final numbers on the scoreboard didn't look as bad as things were in a 77-67 loss to Florida State.

It wasn't a shock because Carolina (14-14, 3-10 in the ACC) experienced many of the same problems that have plagued it all season: lack of healthy personnel, poor perimeter defense and an inability to score.

"When it rains, it really rains hard," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

A downpour of 3-pointers came from the Seminoles (20-7, 8-5) in the first half, when they hit 9 of 15 from beyond the arc.

And the flood that drowned the Tar Heels came at the start of the second half, which they opened by not scoring a field goal for six minutes.

"We really didn't play well for five or six minutes, and it got to be a huge margin," Williams said.

Florida State started the second half on an 11-3 run-capped by a three from Deividas Dulkys, who scored 17 points-to open up a 59-36 lead.

Carolina cut the lead to 11 twice in the final three minutes while Florida State essentially milked the clock but couldn't get the deficit below double figures until 29 seconds remained.

"When you're losing more than you should, it seems as if it looks worse, but I don't think it's been getting worse," said Will Graves, who led Carolina with 21 points. "Things are a little better. It hasn't taken a drastic jump, but I can see little steps; infant steps, at that."

Some things really don't look much different at all from the rest of this stretch in which UNC has lost seven of its last eight games and 10 of its last 12.

There were the nine turnovers that led to 12 Florida State points in the first half.

There were more turnovers in the game for UNC (14) than assists (13).

The Heels were once again beset by injury on the front line-missing both Wear twins in addition to already being without Ed Davis-and got beat by FSU on the boards, 36-31.

Even when Carolina did something good-like cutting Florida State's lead to 11 with 2:50 to go-it followed by doing something bad, like letting FSU's Michael Snaer answer with an uncontested dunk as the shot clock wound down.

"It was a multitude of errors," Williams said.

The Tar Heels pointed out that when they watched film on the Seminoles, Dulkys looked like the only real threat to hit shots from outside.

The number backed that up, heading into the game.

Chris Singleton was shooting 10 for 50 from 3-point range in ACC games. Derwin Kitchen was shooting 30.9 percent for the year from downtown.

But the pair combined to go 5 for 9 from 3-point range against the Tar Heels, with four of the made shots coming in the first half.

Williams blamed the Seminoles' success on a combination of the Tar Heels not being fast enough to recover outside after giving inside help and getting beaten on dribble penetration, which has been a glaring weakness all season.

"They made them, and we helped them because they were so wide open," Williams said.

As if Carolina wasn't yet tired of getting bad news, it got some more in learning that freshman David Wear is likely done for the season with a left hip injury. He injured it in practice had has had a clicking in it because of "loose bodies" in the hip.

With so many players hurt and the healthy ones looking at dropping below .500 with another loss, the Tar Heels were trying the best they could to stay upbeat.

"When things are going bad, you can't get down on yourself," freshman John Henson said. "We've got opportunities still. We're not dead yet. We're playing for pride."

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