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Quick Hitters - North Carolina vs. Northeastern

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 82-62 home win over Northeastern on Wednesday night.

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 82-62 home win over Northeastern on Wednesday night.

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

  • It was a special treat to have Tyler Hansbrough providing color commentary on the ACC Network Extra feed tonight. He mentioned it was his first ever game broadcasting.
  • Roy Williams and Steve Robinson coached the game with a towel draped over their shoulder, bearing the image of longtime friend and Georgetown coach John Thompson, who passed away last August.
  • Per my Sports Illustrated colleague Shawn Krest, the Carolina freshman class broke into UNC’s top-10 for most minutes played as freshmen with 1,987. They passed the 1981 and 2013 classes, moving into 8th. They’ve also scored 780 points which passes 2000 for 10th in that category.
  • Carolina had 20 assists on 32 made baskets tonight, an assist percentage of 62.5. This is the third straight game the Tar Heels have assisted on over 50 percent of their baskets, and 10th time in the last 12.
  • Caleb Love finished with a career high nine assists and just two turnovers. RJ Davis, meanwhile, had three assists and zero turnovers. That means Carolina’s two main ballhandlers finished with 12 assists and only two turnovers.
  • The beginning of the game played out like it would be another night plagued by turnovers. Love’s turnover with 8:43 left in the first half was already Carolina’s seventh of the game. However, over the final 28:42 of the game, the Tar Heels committed just three more turnovers (one more in the first half and two in the second) for a total of 10.
  • Walker Kessler recorded a career high in both points (10) and rebounds (seven). He also added his first three-pointer as a Tar Heel. Kessler filled out his stat sheet with two assists, one block, one steal, and zero turnovers. The freshman is averaging 9.5 points and six rebounds in the last two games. To be fair, four of Kessler’s seven rebounds happened on one play. Here’s what the play-by-play sheet looked like: 
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  • Kessler showed off his varied skill set with a nice anticipation steal leading to a run-out dunk. It was quite Tyler Zeller-esque.
  • Anthony Harris missed the game after suffering a concussion against Virginia. He is still going through protocols. Additionally, Puff Johnson is still out. Sterling Manley continues to dress out, but hasn’t played yet.
  • It was a balanced scoring attack for the Tar Heels. Four scored in double figures (Sharpe – 15, Walton – 14, Brooks – 11, Kessler – 10), but two others (Platek and Bacot) each had nine. Additionally, when Leaky Black scored with 18:09 remaining in the second half, it meant that every Tar Heel that played (aside from the Blue Team at the end) scored points.
  • Kerwin Walton has made multiple threes in six straight games and at least one in 12 straight.
  • Similar to the Virginia game, the Tar Heel frontcourt was rather inefficient at the rim, missing multiple bunnies. Curiously though, all four big men hit some type of outside shot. Kessler made a three, as previously mentioned, while Brooks, Bacot, and Sharpe each hit a shot near the free throw line.
  • The Tar Heel bench has outscored their counterparts in most games this season, but tonight was an absolute mauling. Carolina led in that category 40-12, the highest bench scoring output of the season. The previous high was 38 in the home game against NC State. 
  • It appeared that Carolina would dominate early, getting off to an early 4-0 start. Northeastern, to their credit, punched back and rattled off seven in a row. Carolina eventually took control with their own 9-0 run (18-5 extended) and never trailed again.
  • Northeastern’s Tyson Walker had a monster first half. At one point he had 14 of the Huskies’ 16 points and later 19 of 26. Walker made it to halftime having scored 21 of his team’s 30 points. That means he finished the first half having scored 70 percent of his team’s output. Leaky Black put Walker in the Buddy-Boeheim-second-half-lockdown and he only scored six more points after the break.
  • Something to keep an eye on is Day’Ron Sharpe’s ankle which he tweaked just before halftime. He played in the second half and seemed to be fine, but he did have a slight limp in his step when he checked out for the last time.
  • Garrison Brooks recorded a double-double (11 points / 13 rebounds), his second of the season.
  • The Tar Heels were able to get out on the break more often tonight than of late. Walker Kessler had a nice anticipation steal for a run-out dunk. Multiple big men were rewarded for running the court in transition. Here's a Garrison Brooks dunk off the RJ Davis alley-oop:
  • After porous free throw shooting of late, Carolina made 13-of-16 tonight, an infinitely better tally than the combined 51.7 percent of the previous five games.
  • Always nice to see the Blue Team get a couple minutes. Creighton Lebo parlayed that time into a basket (his second in as many games) and then drew a charge on the other end.
  • Continue to pay attention to schedule changes. The Tar Heels play Louisville on Saturday, but just found out today that next Tuesday’s game at Boston College will be postponed (let’s be honest, most likely canceled). One never knows when the team might reach out to add an opponent. Speaking of which, the three canceled ACC home games have done a real doozy on Carolina's home schedule:

Box Score

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Roy Williams postgame press conference

Players postgame press conference

Caleb Love 

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Walker Kessler 

Kerwin Walton

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a home game against Louisville on Saturday, February 20. Tip is at 6:00pm ET on ESPN.

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