November 20, 2007

Tar Heel Basketball Notebook

North Carolina is in the midst of a heavy stretch of court action over the next several days. Coming off its 35-point victory over Iona, the Tar Heels will play three games over the next five days, starting on Tuesday evening with a game against South Carolina State in the Smith Center.

The Tar Heels (2-0) got a fierce challenge last week from Davidson, as many expected, but things were substantially easier in the home opener against Iona, as the Tar Heels shot 50.8 percent from the floor and had five players in double-figures in claiming a 107-72 victory.

"Scramble" defense works against Gaels

In an effort to set the tone on the defensive end of the floor, the Tar Heels employed a 'scramble' defensive approach for much of the game against Iona, utilizing full-court presses and traps, and forcing their guards to make snap decisions under pressure. The plan worked for the most part, as UNC forced 16 steals and 23 turnovers, and largely kept Iona out of any kind of offensive rhythm.

"It (the scramble) is something we emphasized more (against Iona). We felt like we wanted to pressure their guards a lot, and see what they could do with the ball. That's what we emphasized most," said sophomore guard Wayne Ellington. "It feels good. We had a great team game. Everybody was involved. Everybody was getting up and down the floor having fun."

"I think we really came aggressive with the trap. It felt like we were trapping every time down court in the first half, to be honest with you," said junior forward Tyler Hansbrough. "I think it's our people off the ball, with the scramble. I think it's not the two people trapping, but the other people around them that get the ball and anticipate the pass."

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