Delta Devils fall to No. 1 UNC 101-75

BY foxsports • November 20, 2011

Mississippi Valley State has already lost three road games to start the season - and the journey is just beginning.

A 101-75 loss at No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday marked the latest stop in the Delta Devils' two-month trip to begin the season. They also go to South Carolina, Arkansas, No. 7 Florida and No. 14 Wisconsin before the end of December.

At least on Sunday, the Delta Devils (0-3) hung around for about a half with the Tar Heels (3-0).

''It's going to boost our confidence up,'' said Brent Arrington, who scored 33 points. ''We see where we're at and we're going to keep working from here.''

Coach Sean Woods said he thinks the long trip will toughen his team before its first home game on Jan. 14 against Alcorn State.

''Our stuff does work when we do it right against anybody in the country,'' Woods said. ''We've got to stop making silly plays that gives the other team a run.''

For UNC, John Henson had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Harrison Barnes also had 18 points in the Tar Heels' home opener. North Carolina never trailed, led by 14 at halftime then blew the game open in the final 10 minutes to lead by as many as 30.

That's not to say it was a flawless performance. North Carolina struggled to make outside shots and spent most of the game shooting below 50 percent from the foul line. But the Delta Devils were in no position to take advantage, shooting just 38 percent and 8 for 27 from 3-point range.

North Carolina also took a 62-39 edge on the boards.

The Tar Heels opened the season Nov. 11 against Michigan State in the Carrier Classic in San Diego, then flew back that night to their home state for a game at UNC Asheville two days later. They had the week off leading up to this one, though they didn't look particularly sharp early.

The teams were tied 6 1/2 minutes in and the Tar Heels didn't push to a double-digit lead until the final 5 minutes of the first half. They ran off seven straight points to push the lead to 30-19 on Henson's layup and got a dunk from Tyler Zeller late in the half to take a 41-27 lead into the break.

The Tar Heels steadily increased the margin after halftime, though some of their shooting woes continued. North Carolina made just 16 of 31 free throws and missed 14 of 19 3-pointers for the game.

Despite those troubles, North Carolina shot 46 percent for the game.

One highlight, however, was the continued offensive improvement of Henson, a 6-foot-10 junior who has long been the team's top rebounder and shot blocker. He knocked down several jumpers to show more range on his shot, which could be a critical weapon as defenses key in on Barnes or Zeller inside.

The game is part of the Las Vegas Invitational, with the Tar Heels facing Tennessee State here Tuesday night before traveling west to face South Carolina in the semifinal round on Friday.

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