Joel Berry played one of the worst games of the season against Oregon. He finished with 11 points but went 2-14 from the field. He missed the free throws at the end to put Carolina up three and was only bailed out by Kennedy Meeks’ massive offensive rebound.
With the exception of the Butler game, he really hadn’t had a good tournament. He went a combined 9-47 against Texas Southern, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oregon. He was very clearly still nursing ankle injuries.
Against Gonzaga, Berry had the biggest game of his career, considering the moment. He scored 22 points, going 7-19 from the field. His four three pointers made were literally the only four Carolina made.
Berry can definitely get into the habit of shooting too much. He’s the point guard, but he only averages 3.6 assists per game. Against Gonzaga, he finished with six assists. He may have taken too many threes, but when they mattered most he made them.
Justin Jackson finished with 16 points, but went 0-9 from three and really struggled to get going for much of the game. Kennedy Meeks was great on the boards again, but he only finished with 7 points. Isaiah Hicks came up with 13 points, including maybe the two biggest. However, Berry’s offense was what allowed UNC to get over the line. The Tar Heels won this game defensively, but you still need to score points to win, and Berry was the one to consistently score them.
Berry was named the Most Outstanding Player, insuring that his jersey will be in the rafters someday. If it wasn’t for his performance against Gonzaga, the other banner wouldn’t be going up with it.