With only three ACC victories and their postseason hopes quickly dwindling, you’d think there would be a sense of desperation in North Carolina’s players.
But it sure didn’t look like it during their 68-51 blowout loss at Georgia Tech on Tuesday night – even to coach Roy Williams. Carolina committed 19 turnovers, shot only 32.2 percent, and never posted any sort of comeback to the Yellow Jackets’ 21-4 first-half run.
“I don’t know if it was a desperation game,” Williams said. “You know, I try to play every day in practice, and in every game. I didn’t say in the locker room, ‘Win this, or we’re not going to do that.’ I believe in doing the best you can every day.
“But if I’m desperate, I’m going to dive on the dad-gum floor for the ball. If I’m desperate, I’m not going to turn it over on a handoff. If I’m desperate, I’m going to sprint back. If I’m desperate, I’m going to know who I’m guarding.”
And Carolina (14-12, 3-8 ACC) did none of those things consistently.
Williams, whose early-season shock and sadness over his team’s inconsistent play seems to be turning to irritation, insisted that he still thinks he team can put together a late-season run. But it was difficult to see it Tuesday night.
“I didn’t feel like we were going to play like this tonight,’’ he said. “I thought we’d play really well -- I honestly did. I thought and told the guys, ‘We can get this done. We’ve got to play every possession, possession by possession.’ I’m a guy who always feels like the glass is half full, that we can.
“But guys, we can’t win against anybody with that kind of effort, intellectually and physically. That just didn’t get it done tonight. I’m totally shocked, flabbergasted. It’s not fair to say embarrassed, because I’m embarrassed in myself, too.”
INJURY REPORT: Senior Marcus Ginyard re-sprained his ankle during the first half, which is why he was limited to 17 minutes. Tyler Zeller, who has been sidelined for five weeks with a broken bone in his left foot, was in uniform – but only in case too many big men got into foul trouble.
DREW STRUGGLES, AGAIN: After a 15-point, seven-assist performance against N.C. State, point guard Larry Drew II returned to his struggling ways, making only 2 of 8 shots with eight turnovers and three assists.
“I’ve just got to find some kind of consistency obviously, I haven’t found it,’’ Drew II said after the game. “Yeah, it is disappointing, it’s frustrating, all that. But I’m going to find it. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen.”
Asked if point guard play was the biggest difference between this season and last, Williams defended his ballhandler.
“It’s unfair to single out – we haven’t handled it well, we have turned it over, we haven’t shot the ball well, we haven’t rebounded well,’’ Williams said. “Second-chance points, they had it 14-5, I mean Gani [Lawal] goes to the free throw line, missed two free throws, they get the ball and they make a 3. So it’s not just the point guard – the point guard position gets a lot of attention, but we’ve got a lot of holes.”