Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 73-67 home win over North Carolina Central on Saturday afternoon.
- Roy Williams will have plenty of teachable moments from this sloppy and uninspired win; however, it was also a win just in the fact that Carolina was able to find an opponent and play a basketball game today.
- Armando Bacot continues to be extremely efficient from the field. The sophomore has attempted at least four field goals in every game and has yet to miss more than two. Today he was 6-for-7 from the floor. And while it doesn’t count towards his field goal percentage, he also shot 7-for-10 from the free throw line.
- Bacot was UNC’s offense in the first half, scoring exactly half of Carolina’s 30 total points. No other Tar Heel had more than three at the break. He accumulated a total of 19 points by the opening minutes of the second half and his career high of 23 appeared to be in danger, but he actually never scored again.
- Other than the season-opening win over College of Charleston, Carolina has struggled at the free throw line this year. They hit 79 percent against Charleston but haven’t crossed 65 percent since. Today appeared to be another rough day as the Tar Heels missed four of their first eight. However, they made 21 of their final 23 including all 13 second half attempts. In fact, after Bacot’s miss with 6:35 remaining in the first half, UNC didn’t miss another free throw. The final free throw tally was 25-for-31 (80.6 percent).
- For the first time in his young college career, RJ Davis failed to score in double-digits. Thankfully, four other Tar Heels finished in double-figures, including Bacot (19), Caleb Love (12), Day’Ron Sharpe (12), and Andrew Platek (11).
- Speaking of Andrew Platek, the senior scored in double figures exactly twice in his first three years of college. He’s now done so three times in the first six games of this season, including each of the last two. Platek is also finally finding the three-point stroke we’ve heard so much about from practices. He’s the team leader in three-point percentage (43.8 percent) and second in made threes (seven), just behind RJ Davis (eight).
- Platek had a personal 8-0 run over the course of 75 seconds in the second half. The first six points of which were Carolina’s only two three-pointers of the day. This scoring run put the lead into double-digits for the first time. Here's the first three followed by the last bucket of the 8-0 run (aided by a great hustle play from Caleb Love):
- Platek’s other three points were courtesy of his first dunk as a Tar Heel. The senior drove baseline and finished through contact, plus made his foul shot. Here's the dunk:
- The Tar Heels held that double-digit lead until a sloppy end-of-game sequence allowed NC Central to cut the lead from 15 with 1:27 left to the final margin of six. Things got so bad that Roy Williams elected to employ one of his wholesale five-for-five substitutions for the final 21 seconds.
- This was not Carolina’s only bad stretch of the game. In fact, the Tar Heels struggled mightily in the first half. For the third game in a row, they found themselves on the wrong side of a double-digit lead (Texas and Iowa being the other two). In each of those three games, UNC came back to take a lead at some point. The difference was that this time they were able to hold onto it. Today, NC Central took an 11-point lead with 11:38 remaining in the first half. From there Carolina chipped away until RJ Davis’ lay-up with three seconds remaining gave the Tar Heels a two-point halftime lead.
- Part of what allowed the Eagles to build the lead was their shooting. After starting 1-for-4 from the field, they buried their next seven shots in a row.
- Another contributing factor to the NC Central lead was (and stop me if you’ve heard this before), Carolina’s turnovers. At the under-8:00 media timeout of the first half, the Tar Heels had more turnovers (seven) than made field goals (five). By halftime, the turnovers and field goals were tied at nine. After just nine turnovers in the entire College of Charleston game, UNC has at least 14 in every other game this season. The freshman point guard learning curve continues for Caleb Love, who contributed six of those turnovers by himself.
- Rebounding was also a key to the Eagle lead. The Tar Heels entered the game third in the nation in total rebounds per game while NC Central was 304th. Additionally, Carolina held a +16 average rebounding margin for the season. But you wouldn’t have known it in the first half. The Eagles stayed right with the Tar Heels, before the taller Carolina team was eventually able to build a +12 margin by game’s end.
- The Tar Heels had their lowest total offensive rebounding percentage of the season (36.7). However, their field goal offensive rebounding percentage once again crossed 40 percent - for the fifth game in a row (40.7 percent).
- While the Tar Heels made a living at the free throw line, the Eagles rarely found their way there. They didn't attempt a free throw until there was 11:45 to go in second half; 28:15 into the game.
- It was a rough beginning to the second half for NC Central’s Jamir Moultrie: he picked up three fouls and committed a turnover in the first 97 seconds. To be fair, Garrison Brooks picked up two fouls out on the perimeter 14 seconds apart late in the first halff.
- For the second time this season, Roy Williams deployed an all-freshman lineup. This one consisted of Caleb Love, Kerwin Walton, Puff Johnson, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Walker Kessler. Only RJ Davis wasn’t part of it. These five played 1:24 together and were outscored 2-1.
- I have to wonder if Garrison Brooks’ ankle is still bothering him. He only played 23:18 and uncharacteristically finished with five points and four rebounds.
- Hopefully, everyone had the opportunity to enjoy the football Tar Heels' blowout of Miami. The basketball Tar Heels ended up scoring just 11 points more than the football Tar Heels (73-62).
Roy Williams postgame press conference
Players postgame press conference
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is the CBS Sports Classic in Cleveland, Ohio against Ohio State on Saturday, December 19. Tip is at 4:30pm ET on CBS.
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