Matthew scored his first basket and grabbed a career-high seven rebounds, helping lead his Tar Heels to a 30-19 win over the Spurs Sunday afternoon.
Two days earlier the Heels had a fun Friday practice, playing HORSE before one last scrimmage with the Longhorns. Uncharacteristically, Matthew took several shots during the scrimmage. He really hasn’t worked much on his shot all year, but just by taking shots it draws opposing defenders, opening the lane for teammates to rebound and shoot in less traffic.
During one sequence of the scrimmage the teams swapped three straight top-of-the key three-pointers. JB sank the first one, for the Heels. Longhorns point-guard
While playing horse, Riley flipped a ball over his head from the foul line, and sank the shot. This thrilled him to no end. He tried ten more similar backwards shots, making none.
During the Sunday game Matthew came out shooting. He missed two shots in the first quarter, one in the second, and two more in the third. Each time he shot the crowd held its breath, only to sigh when it missed. But later in the third a shot glanced off the backboard, right into Matthew’s hands. No one was around him, and he looked around for a long second…then shot. The ball bounced off the backboard…and in! The crowd erupted.
Matthew’s basket was part of a 12-2 run, putting the Heels up 26-11 early in the fourth quarter. After scoring all ten points in the first period, the Heels completed a 14-4 run early in the second. Starting the game with only six players, the Heels dominated the quarter. Patrick almost tallied a double-double, finishing the first quarter with ten points and eight rebounds. Colin amazed his mother, with three rebounds and steals. He attempted several shots as well. Riley added three steals.
Patrick added nine more rebounds in the second quarter, giving him 17 for the half. Giovanni scored both baskets and grabbed three rebounds. Matthew continued his inspired play, chasing down a rebound, inbounding the ball, and diving to the court to force a jumpball. But the Spurs outscored the Heels 9-4, and I knew the game was far from over.
The Spurs had beaten the Heels once this season. They had all ten players present, so I couldn’t understand the game wasn’t closer. Both the Heels wins this year had come against the Spurs, and the frustration was clearly shown by the Spurs coach.
JB arrived late, and sparked the Heels on the 12-2 third quarter run…putting the game out of reach. He had six rebounds and two assists in the period.
Kevin brought the ball downcourt and initiated the play of the year. He passed to Giovanni on the wing, who passed in to JB at the foul line. JB started one of his trademark drives, drawing the defense. He then passed to Patrick down low, for the easy layup. By the end of the quarter both JB and Patrick were on the bench, at the request of Frank, the league director/referee…to keep the game respectable.
In the fourth quarter JB again fed Patrick for a lay-up. After a rebound everyone expected him to shoot, but again he passed after drawing the defense close. All the passing was contagious. Giovanni passed out of traffic back to Riley, who finally nailed an outside shot. JB and Giovanni fed Matthew and Colin for more shots, but none went in.
Once bringing the ball upcourt, Kevin made up his mind to penetrate and shoot. The ref blew his whistle, to let substitutes in. Kevin went through with the long shot from the three-point line. After so many near-misses, of course the shot that didn’t count went in.
Matthew added four more rebounds. After grabbing one ball a defender accidentally ran into him, spinning him around. Matthew was called for walking…a bad call. Earlier Colin was called for walking. The game stopped, and the buzz in the gym got quiet…except for Colin’s younger brother, who looked up from his GameBoy and exclaimed a perfect “What!”
Patrick…16 points, 20 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 2 fouls
JB…2 points, 12 rebounds, steal, 3 assists (0-4 foul shots)
Giovanni…8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls
Riley…2 points, 2 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists, 4 fouls
Matthew…2 points, 7 rebounds, one foul (1-7 shooting)
Colin…5 rebounds, 4 steals, one foul
Kevin…rebound, assist, 2 steals, one foul
If you just stumbled across this recap, I write them for Matthew’s distant grandparents. I take notes on the games, so the stats are quite unofficial. Enjoy!