That’s more like it. The North Carolina Tar Heels went to New Orleans looking to right their ship after an embarrassing loss to Wofford at home on Wednesday, and they did just that. UNC got massive help from two guys who didn’t start the game to make up for a somewhat lackluster performance inside, particularly in the first half. Things balanced out a bit after halftime, and it ended up not mattering in the slightest.
Cameron Johnson and Jalek Felton came off the bench to shoot the Heels past Ohio State on Saturday afternoon. Johnson, in his second game of the season, was one of the most impressive players on the floor in light blue. He made two of his four threes, four of his seven field goals, pulled down five rebounds, and added in an assist. He finished with 14 points. Carolina continued to be a bit careless with the ball with 18 turnovers, and Johnson was a part of that, but everything else he did was impressive.
For all of Felton’s freshman struggles, he shot the lights out in his time on the court today on his way to 12 points. Raymond’s nephew knocked down four shots from long distance, had five incredibly pretty assists, and added in four rebounds. It was easily his best performance to date, and should serve as a big confidence boost for him heading into conference play.
Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson led the way in points with 19 each. Unfortunately, the other three starters only combined for a total of 16 points. Luke Maye was able to bring down ten boards, but the team’s struggles inside forced them to go to the outside shot all day. Fortunately, they made a lot of those shots. Relying on threes is not how Roy Williams’ teams win games, and you know he probably doesn’t feel great about it.
Making 52% of the three-pointers you take is obviously great. The Heels’ field goal percentage (46%) wasn’t even awful. Taking 25 shots from long distance is a testament to the struggles Carolina faced getting the ball down low, however. What it does show, though, is that this team can adjust and still beat you. That is very promising.
Roy Williams asked his team for more intensity after they were outworked at home against the Terriers, and the team responded. Now they will await the start of ACC play next Saturday at the Dean Dome when they welcome the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to Chapel Hill.