College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 17, 2011
Even though they've dropped two games already, the North Carolina Tar Heels are still a force with which to be reckoned, especially when their twin towers, John Henson and Tyler Zeller, are having their way in the paint.
Henson scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds, but Zeller led all scorers with 31 points, to go with his 10 rebounds, as the Tar Heels dominated Appalachian State, 97-82, improving to 9-2 on the season and 6-0 at home.
The final score doesn't truly indicate just how badly the smaller Mountaineers were outplayed, as no North Carolina starter played more than 29 minutes. Zeller, the 7-foot forward many believe to be one of the top three big men in the country, did his damage in just 26 minutes, making 11 of 15 shots and hitting nine of 10 from the foul line.
Zeller's 31 was just one shy of his career high, which he scored in North Carolina's opening game in last season's NCAA tournament, a 102-87 rout of Long Island. The ten boards gave him his third double-double of the current season.
The 6th-ranked Tar Heels shot 55% for the game, racing out to a 48-32 lead at the break. Coach Roy Williams played mostly subs in the second half, allowing the Mountaineers to stay relatively close, though never threatening North Carolina's lead.
With just four more games before opening ACC play on January 7 against Boston College, North Carolina's toughest opponent in upcoming games will be the Texas Longhorns, on December 21. On Saturday, the unranked, 9-2 Longhorns knocked off Temple, 77-65.