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ACC updated for Jan. 9, 2013 / January 09, 2014
Roy Williams clearly has been exasperated at times with the current North Carolina men’s basketball team this season.

Williams had another opportunity to bring this Tar Heel team along last night after a disappointing road loss to Wake Forest Sunday. The Heels met reigning ACC champion Miami last night in Chapel Hill. UNC, 10-4 overall and 0-1 in the ACC after the Deacons’ ambush, travels to no. 2 Syracuse Saturday.

Williams had issues with his team after Sunday’s upset loss to a Deacon team that’s clearly grown up a bit. Wake Forest improved to 11-3 and 1-0 in the ACC with its 73-67 win. The Deacons, who traveled to Virginia last night, got four players in double figures, outshot the Tar Heels (48.1 percent to 38.7), and showed composure down the stretch against the UNC press.

UNC also had ball security issues, finishing with 17 turnovers, against 12 assists. Wake finished with a positive 15-13 tally in that category.

The Heels had the athleticism to command a 53-34 advantage on the boards Sunday night in Winston-Salem. Carolina nonetheless limped to a 17-10 advantage in second chance points. But Carolina, with 24 offensive boards, did not do as well as it could have in finishing shot opportunities.

Carolina also got a missing in action performance from Marcus Paige, who went 3-for-12 from the field, including one-of-eight from three-point range, on the way to eight points. Paige had six assists and four turnovers, but the Heels almost certainly need more production from this spot in ACC showdown-style games like this one.

“We had a lot of casual turnovers, dribbling the ball, passing and catching, things that weren’t forced. That’s going to hurt your offense,” Paige said.

Williams lamented unforced errors in ball security.

UNC also lagged in free throw opportunities, going 7-for-11. Wake did a better job attacking for opportunities and went 19-for-33 at the line. Wake Forest, meanwhile, has clearly improved from a year ago.

Wake also did a good job with dribble penetration and UNC was too lax on defense there.

“These are things we work on every single day in practice. We probably practice screen on ball defense more than anybody. ... In games, we have lapses. “We need to figure out a way to translate what we do in practice,” said Paige.

“Turnovers and rebounds were our big focus coming into this game,” said Deacon coach Jeff Bzdelik. “I believe half their points come off offensive boards and scoring off turnovers.” The Deacons limited turnovers in the first half (four) and did a better job on the boards in the second half against the Heels.

Wake Forest had a 46-44 edge in points in the paint, and the Deacs had a 19-15 edge in points off turnovers. The Deacons are a stronger, more skilled, more experienced team, but this win will carry a positive perception for the program.

UNC was ranked no. 19 at tip-off Sunday, but the Heels could be looking at more slippage this weekend after the lone test in the regular season against the Orange.

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