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UNC 86, Michigan 71: Tar Heels right the ship behind big game from Luke Maye

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The Heels bounced back with authority in their win over Michigan.

Michigan v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

North Carolina exorcised the demons following Sunday’s ugly loss to Michigan State, taking out their frustrations on the Michigan Wolverines. Everything that went wrong against the Spartans was improved upon in the Heels’ ACC/Big 10 Challenge victory. The final margin doesn’t even really reflect how comfortable of a win it was for the guys in Carolina blue.

Both teams got off to a fast start with neither missing a shot for the first part of the game. Michigan, who typically plays much slower than UNC, was keeping up with the Heels when trading baskets to open the game. Teams who cannot run typically cannot hang with UNC for long, and that seemed to definitely be the problem Michigan ran into.

As we have seen so often following an ugly loss, it seemed like the next team had to pay for the frustration. Carolina was up 51-37 at the half, scoring more points in one half against the Wolverines than they did in the entire game against the Spartans on Sunday.

Luke Maye was, once again, in brilliant form for the Heels. He led the way in scoring with 27 points including a three-pointer. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Cleaning up his turnover problem from the PK80 tournament, Maye only turned it over once in 31 minutes. Joel Berry II also recovered his shooting stroke against Michigan, chipping in 17 points and three three-pointers.

Kenny Williams was another who returned to form in the game, making three of his five three-point attempts on his way to 12 points. It was, perhaps, also the best game that Seventh Woods has turned in this season in limited minutes. He had four assists to just one turnover and scored four points. Garrison Brooks also looked better, scoring eight points and pulling down four rebounds as the relied upon big man of the game.

Most every positive offensive category went in the Heels’ favor. Carolina out-rebounded Michigan 37-31, scored 17 points off turnovers to Michigan’s nine, and scored 40 points in the paint to Michigan’s 36. If you want to critique one point of the Heels’ game, it was that their defense was certainly not as sharp as it was against Michigan State. The Wolverines shot an astounding 34 three-pointers and made just 10. Carolina’s offense more than made up for the deficiencies on that end, though. That being the opposite of what happened against Michigan State.

This was the kind of bounce back performance the Heels needed after the shellacking the Spartans put on them. The offense looked as promising as it has in every other game, aside from that one, this season. They forced the Wolverines to play at their pace to command the tempo of the game, and everything worked out fine.

Carolina will be in action again on Friday when they take on Davidson in Charlotte.