This is obviously not the same Penn team who won the Ivy League for the last two years (most notably, without Matt Zoeller and Ibrahim Jaaber). However, the Palestra is one of the toughest places to play in college basketball, and it will be absolutely raucous tonight.
7:05 pm: 4-4. Ty Lawson is back in the starting lineup today. He definitely seems to be playing at full speed.
7:08 pm: 6-4, UNC. Hansbrough hits two free throws to give UNC the lead, but Penn is playing some good defense right now. On the latest possession they trapped Lawson in a corner, and forced an offensive foul.
7:09 pm: 9-6, UNC. Penn is getting their baskets by forcing a fast pace. The problem for them is that it almost always results in a quick basket for the Tar Heels, whose strength is the transition game.
7:10 pm: 9-9. Bernardini has all 9 points for the Quakers, and he hits the first three-pointer of the game to tie.
7:12 pm: 13-9, UNC. Hansbrough fights for second and third chances at the basket, finally charging inside for an easy dunk to take the lead. Thompson follows with a basket off of a Penn turnover on the next possession.
7:15 pm: The Quakers’ turnover woes continues, as Qyooooooooo!!! gets the steal, draws a foul, and hits his free throws. 17-11, UNC.
7:16 pm: 21-13, UNC. The Tar Heels are scoring almost at will in transition, and they force Penn to take a timeout. Deon Thompson continues to impress in this 4 game road swing.
7:18 pm: 23-15, UNC. Hansbrough scores on the alley-oop. He has 11 points already in this game on 4-4 shooting.
7:19 pm: Ty Lawson is called for another offensive foul, and may have to hit the bench with foul trouble eight minutes into this game.
7:22 pm: Tar Heel fans travel well. Nearly half of the fans in the Palestra is wearing Carolina Blue.
7:23 pm: 25-19, UNC. Tyler scores again, but they’ve now committed their 5th turnover of the game. UNC’s mistakes are keeping the Quakers in the game, as Penn has been able to take advantage of those miscues.
7;25 pm: 27-22, UNC. Our guards are not defending a the perimeter well, and Penn has made them pay. A three-pointer brings the Quakers to within five.
7:28 pm: Heading into the TV timeout, neither team has been shooting the ball well in the last few minutes. Penn has done a good job defensively, keeping every scorer except Hansbrough and Danny Green at bay.
7:31 pm: 29-26, UNC. The Quakers are getting baskets inside way too easily right now.
After a foul on Ellington, I can audibly hear our leaders of tomorrow chant “Bull—-!” in the Penn student section.
7:33 pm: 34-26, UNC. You can see how much more efficiently the Heels’ transition game is run with Lawson on the court instead of Frasor at point.
7:34 pm: 36-28, UNC. Ellington finally gets on the board, fighting for a basket inside.
7:35 pm: 38-30, UNC. Carolina still hasn’t been sealing off the defensive paint very well.
7:36 pm: 40-30, UNC. Hansbrough collects UNC’s 11th offensive rebound, and hits a jumper to give the Heels their first double digit lead…
7:37 pm: 40-32, UNC. …which they quickly relinquish on the other side of the court.
7:41 pm: 48-34, UNC. The Quakers are paying dearly for allowing the Heels to play their transition game. A backcourt steal opens the flood gates, as Danny Green continues to have a good game off the bench.
7:45 pm: 48-37, UNC. Bernardini can;t be stopped; he’s 8-9 from the field in the first half.
7:46 pm: Hansbrough hits an inside shot to end the first half. UNC leads, 50-37 at halftime. The Tar Heels are definitely playing their transition game in this game, but some unwarranted mistakes, in particular a few spurts of lax defense, have helped to keep the quakers in it. If they can just clamp down on the inside, they should be able to hold a comfortable lead in the second half. Expect Penn to to eventually run out of gas, unless they can force a halfcourt game.
8:03 pm: 54-37, UNC. Penn simply does not have an answer for Tyler Hansbrough. But you probably knew that already.
8:04 pm: 57-41, UNC. Bernardini keeps blowing past Ginyard on these backdoor cuts. He need to play better in the perimeter if the Tar Heels want to reduce the Quakers’ 57% FG shooting from the first half.
8:07 pm: The Heels’ main saving gracs on defense has been turnovers. Lawson’s steal, the 11th for Carolina tonight, gives them a 20 point lead. 63-43, UNC.
8:08 pm: 65-43, UNC. If Penn gets blown out tonight, it will be in part because they have allowed the Heels to get a huge amount of offensive rebounds and second chances.
8:12 pm: 67-43, UNC. Marcus Ginyard is having a tough night. Even when he has a dunk in his sights, he missed completely. Fortunately for him, Hansbrough was there to clean up. Tyler has 22 points and 7 rebounds.
8:16 pm: 69-48, UNC. Tyler Bernardini hits a three. He now has 21 points for the Quakers.
8:19 pm: 73-48, UNC. Ellington is finally heating up, and the Heels now seem to have an insurmountable lead.
8:23 pm: 75-52, UNC. Qyoooooooooo with the assist.
8:25 pm: 77-53, UNC. No one should leave Tyler that open in transition. He will kill you every time.
8:29 pm: 79-55, UNC. Tyler Bernardini continues to score at will from everywhere on the court. I still don’t have an explanation as to why the UNC defense is letting him have such a huge night.
8:33 pm: 86-57, UNC. Believe it or not, tonight’s game marks the first time that Tyler Hansbrough has recorded three consecutive double-doubles in his UNC career. Particularly impressive is that all three have come on the road (@ Ohio State, Kentucky, and Penn).
8:40 pm: 91-58, UNC. Danny Green’s three pointer rattles in, as he has 19 for the game. UNC has shot 75% from the field in the second half.
8:40 pm: 93-58, UNC. Alex Stepheson gets his first basket of the game. Where has he been all night?
8:45 pm: 101-65, UNC. Qyoooooooooooooo!!! puts the Heels in triple digits.
8:47 pm: 104-65, UNC. Will Graves hits a three pointer, as this game is getting very ugly for Penn.
8:51 pm: 106-65, UNC. Mike Copeland gets an easy basket inside, as all of UNC’s reserves are on the court for the final two minutes.
8:54 pm: The game officially ends, as UNC wins, 106-71. Aside from not being able to stop Tyler Bernardini, the Tar heels played very good basketball, particularly early in the second half to put the game away. The Tar Heels won’t play again until after final exams here in Chapel Hill, when they play at Rutgers on December 16th. Carolina has made it through the difficult part of their non-conference schedule, and are unlikely to be tested again until their ACC opener against the Clemson Tigers on January 6th.