1. Rebounding figured to be the central theme in Sunday's game. Carolina dominated that category, holding a 53-34 advantage on the glass. The edge was even more pronounced on the offensive boards, where the Tar Heels held a whopping 17-1 lead on the offensive side in the first half, but managed just a 7-2 edge in second chance points. The eventual offensive rebounding edge--with plenty of missed UNC shots available for offensive rebounds--was 24-8.
2. Marcus Paige has had trouble getting on track in the first half lately. As opposing defenses continue to centralize their defensive efforts against the sophomore, Paige is just 4-for-17 in the first half of Carolina's last four games. Wake Forest was able to devote even more first-half attention to Paige in the first 20 minutes on Sunday because James Michael McAdoo was limited by foul trouble. Unfortunately, this time the first half struggles carried over to the second half, as Paige finished with just eight points and fouled out of the game. It was the first time this year he scored in single digits.
3. The Tar Heels played a couple of road games early, which you hope would have prepared them for a 70 percent full Lawrence Joel Coliseum. But for one of the first times this year, Carolina looked rattled during stretches of the game, including several sloppy unforced turnovers. Paige's off night seemed to unhinge the UNC offense, as they finished hitting just 38.7 percent from the field. The Heels also played too much one-on-one basketball, handing out just 12 assists on 29 field goals.
The road team also suffered from an odd inability to get to the free throw line, as Wake made almost two times as many free throws (19) as Carolina attempted (11).
4. Carolina had many bigger problems in the loss. But the impact of a huge sequence late in the second half was undeniable. With under six minutes left, Leslie McDonald dove on the floor to try and save a loose ball. The senior then committed a major lapse in judgment by throwing an elbow while on the ground, which justifiably led to a dead ball contact technical. But after reviewing the video, the officiating crew apparently missed Arnaud Adala Moto leaving the bench (assistant coach Rusty LaRue had to hurl Adala Moto back to the bench), which is an automatic technical foul. If that call had been made, Carolina would have gotten the ball because of the possession arrow due to the ensuing jump ball. Instead, Wake Forest hit one of two free throws and then got the ball back. In what was a one-possession game late, the sequence eventually meant two possessions.
Adam Lucas is the editor of CAROLINA.