College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 19, 2009
Of all the teams across the nation, North Carolina probably has more height than any with a slew of 6'8" and taller players occupying the floor at any given time, but their size was no match for the intensity brought by the Longhorns big men as Texas thumped the Tar Heels, 103-90, in the first game ever at Cowboy stadium. Forward Damion James scored 25 points and had 15 boards and center Dexter Pittman posted season highs with 23 points and 15 rebounds (12 offensive).
Texas outrebounded North Carolina 60-41, a stat that bears respect, because if the Longhorns can dominate the paint against a team like North Carolina - and all that up front size - there may not be any other squad out there capable of handling them in the post. The win put Texas at 10-0, even with conference rival Kansas, who punched out a 74-65 win over Michigan earlier in the day. The Jayhawks and Longhorns are ranked 1-2 in the polls. North Carolina, which was #10 coming in, will surely drop down, having lost their 3rd game in 11 starts. Their two other losses - to Syracuse and Kentucky - were also on the road.
Notable: Was it the Duke defense or Gonzaga's poor shooting that produced the 76-41 Blue Devil blowout at Madison Square Garden Saturday? On the one hand, the Zags were awful from the field, hitting just 15 of 54 shots (28%), including 1 of 10 from the 3-point area. While nine different players scored for Gonzaga, none hit double figures, but the play closest to the hoop was more than likely a function of inexperience, as freshman forward Elias Harris went 2-for-8 and sophomore center Robert Sacre - who led the Bulldogs in scoring with 9 points - was 2-for-11, mostly on contested shot in the paint. Gonzaga turned the ball over 18 times and were outrebounded 45-35, but they were also just 10-for-21 from the free throw line, and that doesn't involve any defense. Give Duke credit for solid defense, but the Zags just didn't have much zip in their game on this occasion.