In beating Virginia, North Carolina improved to 22-5 and 11-3 in the conference. What they also did was put in one of their best displays on the season, especially on the defensive end.
UNC beat Virginia at their own game
In other games this season, Virginia has held teams to under 50 points seven times. On Saturday, it was the Cavaliers turn to have a poor day on the offensive end. The Tar Heels held Virginia to 41 points on 28% shooting, the lowest point total UNC has allowed in the Roy Williams era. The Cavaliers went 2-20 from three, and the two came near the end when the game was out of hand. Virginia definitely missed some open shots to contribute to that, but UNC just played really well on the defensive end.
On the other end of the floor, Virginia played their typically annoying defense, but the Tar Heels managed to just keep grounding out points while Virginia couldn’t. Justin Jackson took over in the first half, and in the second half, UNC kept feeding Kennedy Meeks to great effect. Carolina managed to score over a point per possession, and completely dominated the boards. Those two things aren’t always possible against Virginia, but they were on Saturday, and they helped Carolina win by 24.
Justin Jackson continues to vault himself into award contention
On a day where Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson got their jerseys honored, Justin Jackson continues to play at a level that might get him one of the awards that leads to an honored jersey. Jackson put up another 20 point game, chipping in with four assists and six rebounds, all in just 19 minutes.
He’s probably not going to win one of the National Player of the Year awards, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in contention for All-American or ACC Player of the Year. Since ACC play started, Jackson is averaging just under 20 points per game in the toughest conference in America.
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