Things didn’t look quite as pretty for UNC against Bucknell as they did against Northern Iowa. Bucknell is a solid team, but giving up 81 points to them on 46% shooting isn’t what the Tar Heels would have hoped to do. They were just sloppier in general than they were last Friday night.
One thing that stayed relatively the same from the season opener was the performance level of Luke Maye.
The junior led UNC in scoring one again, putting up 20 points, going 3-4 from three-point range. He very nearly went for another double-double, coming just one rebound short. Maye even chipped in with four assists, with only Joel Berry and Theo Pinson dishing out more.
Maye did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 13 of his points, which included all three of his three-point makes.
There are several other candidates from the Tar Heels that you could just as easily give player of the game status to. Pinson finished just one point behind Maye with 19, and also did his normal fill up the box score routine, also racking up six assists, five rebounds, and a block. Another potential option would be Sterling Manley, who went for a double-double, putting up 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Maye is getting the slight edge here because of his aforementioned first half. Bucknell went on a run to start the second half, getting with just one point and even having a shot to take the lead. Without Maye’s first half outburst, that run would have been even more damaging than it already was. Instead, UNC never did lose the lead and eventually managed to put away the game.
After the way he played in the tournament last year, it was totally reasonable to be excited about how Luke Maye could follow that up this season. His first two games from this season probably exceed most people’s expectations.