UNC-UNLV: Halftime thoughts

LAS VEGAS -- Top-ranked North Carolina leads UNLV 42-38 at halftime of the Las Vegas Invitational championship, but the Rebels are giving the Tar Heels their biggest challenge of the season so far.

A few quick thoughts:

  • Looks like there is more to this team than the trio that opted not to go to the NBA last summer -- which is a good thing. Tyler Zeller (three fouls), Harrison Barnes (rolled right ankle) and John Henson (3-for-7, two fouls) have accounted for only 13 points. The “other guys” have helped make up for it, beginning with starting shooting guard/backup point guard Dexter Strickland, who leads the team with 9 points. With UNC trailing early, the junior was in the game at point guard when the Tar Heels put together a 9-0 run to take back an 18-17 lead.

  • There was a slight scare when Barnes appeared to hurt his ankle late in the first half scrambling for a loose ball. He flashed the tired signal, but waved off the trainer when he went to the bench, and eventually returned to the game.

  • Some numbers: Rebounding is tied 18-18 … point guard Kendall Marshall has 6 assists …. UNLV is shooting 39.4 percent, while the Tar Heels are making 56.7 percent of their shots … Oscar Bellfield leads all scorers with 13.