North Carolina-Florida St. Preview
Though among the top offensive teams in the nation, North Carolina realizes it probably won't reach its long-term goals without being able to make stops at the other end.
The Tar Heels no doubt remember what a freshman guard from Florida State did to them in the last meeting.
Sixth-ranked UNC looks to put together a complete performance en route to its seventh consecutive victory Monday night when it visits the Seminoles.
North Carolina ranks in the top 10 nationally with 86.5 points per game and in the top 15 with a 50.1 field-goal percentage after it shot better than 50 percent for the eighth time in nine games in Saturday's 86-78 home win over Georgia Tech.
Joel Barry II led the way with 19 points, while Brice Johnson added 15 and 11 rebounds. Johnson, averaging a team-high 15.3 points, had scored a season-low three on 1-of-8 shooting in an 80-69 home win over Clemson in the ACC opener on Wednesday.
The Tar Heels trailed by nine in the first half before outscoring Georgia Tech 47-36 over the final 20 minutes.
"We just decided to get some stops and win. That was the biggest thing," Johnson said. "We wanted to just stop, I mean we were scoring and doing what we needed to do. We just needed a couple of stops to get a win. And that's what we did."
After allowing 77.3 points per game during a three-game stretch, the Tar Heels (13-2, 2-0) have given up an average of 70 in their last four. They had some trouble with Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes in the most recent meeting on Jan. 24, but Marcus Paige finished with 19 points and Johnson added 18 with 14 boards in a 78-74 home win.
Rathan-Mayes had a school freshman-record 35 points that tied for the fifth-best total by a freshman in ACC history.
Rathan-Mayes hasn't been nearly as prolific as a sophomore, averaging 11.0 points on 39.7 percent shooting. He finished with six while missing seven of nine shots in Saturday's 84-75 loss at Clemson that ended a six-game winning streak.
The Seminoles (10-3, 0-1) have two more freshmen playing starring roles this season in Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon - both averaging 17.2 points. Beasley scored 23 on Saturday and senior Devon Bookert had a season-high 21 with six 3-pointers.
Bacon will try to regroup after he had 10 points on 5-of-16 shooting against the Tigers to snap his school freshman record streak of four straight games with at least 20.
"I think at the start of the ACC season, hopefully (Saturday) will be a lesson for our guys to be a little more attentive and understand a little more of how you need to play at this level," coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Florida State has lost five in a row overall in this series and seven of the past eight home meetings. It also has dropped 16 of 19 against ranked opponents dating to the start of the 2012-13 season.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams has said forward Kennedy Meeks will miss his seventh straight contest due to a bone bruise on his left knee.