GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — John Henson had a great seat on the
North Carolina sideline to watch his teammates advance in the NCAA
tournament. The question is how long the Tar Heels will have to win
without him, not to mention if his sore left wrist will heal enough
to make him a factor in March at all.
Tyler Zeller had 17 points and 15 rebounds to help North
Carolina beat Vermont 77-58 on Friday in its NCAA tournament opener
despite playing without its shot-blocking and rebound-snatching
The top-seeded Tar Heels didn’t turn in a rousing performance,
but they had a danger-free afternoon and advanced to play Creighton
on Sunday in the third round of the Midwest Regional. They also
bought Henson another two days to recover.
Against the 16th-seeded Catamounts (24-12), that meant another
strong performance from freshman James Michael McAdoo starting in
Henson’s place. McAdoo shook off a poor shooting start and finished
with a season-high 17 points to give Zeller some help in the paint,
including a one-handed tip slam off a missed 3-pointer from Reggie
Bullock that sent the home-state crowd wearing plenty of light blue
into a roar.
McAdoo also had consecutive three-point plays during the run
that broke the game open after halftime.
While McAdoo’s surge helped the Tar Heels improve to 30-1 in
NCAA tournament games played in their home state, they know that
the question of Henson’s return is becoming more urgent with each
game. The 6-foot-10 junior – who averages 14 points, 10 rebounds
and three blocks – was hurt during when he fell to the floor while
being fouled during last week’s Atlantic Coast Conference
tournament and missed the last two games in Atlanta.
North Carolina led by 12 at halftime before blowing the game
open. After McAdoo’s three-point plays, fellow rookie P.J. Hairston
followed with a 3-pointer, then Barnes added a three-point play
that pushed North Carolina’s lead to 60-37 with 8:12 left.
Sandro Carissimo had 11 points for the Catamounts, who beat
Lamar in one of Wednesday’s First Four games. They arrived in
Greensboro late Thursday afternoon and had little time to get
acclimated to their surroundings before getting the unenviable
challenge of facing a high seed playing about an hour from its own
The Catamounts shot 40 percent and missed 15 of 18 3-point
tries. Perhaps no Vermont player struggled more than leading scorer
Four McGlynn, who came in averaging about 12 points off the bench.
The freshman had 18 points against Lamar, but finished with just
six against the Tar Heels on 2-for-13 shooting. He also missed all
six of his shots from beyond the arc.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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