It was just 24 hours ago when it was foretold that the sky was falling and North Carolina’s season was destined to only continue going south following two losses to two ranked ACC opponents with extremely stout defenses. The calls for Roy’s job and pointing the finger at various players and issues ran rampant among the all-mighty Twitter machine despite UNC winning a National Championship just a year ago. We all know those people, and they were the same ones that said similar things last year, and the year before, and, well, you get it.
Fast forward last night, and all of a sudden UNC is looking like they can do some damage in the ACC all over again following their dominant 96-66 win against Boston College. BC only shot 38% from the field, and got demolished on the boards while failing to force the Heels to turn over the ball as much as they had been. Things looked really good, and there is one person specifically to thank for such a convincing win against a tough BC team.
Luke Maye had been struggling as of late following UNC’s surprising loss against Wofford. Nothing about his game looked anything like it did earlier in the season — he played very passive, sloppy, and in general just looked like the confidence was knocked out of him by the Terriers. Maye stated prior to the game that he wasn’t seeing teams doing anything different against him, which to a certain degree has been very true. He has had more than enough opportunities to make high-percentage baskets and yet he hasn’t been able to take advantage. He also hadn’t been as great as he had been on the boards and in minimizing turnovers, and so all-around something needed to change.
Something changed last night, and the change turned into what was a career night for Luke Maye. He finished the game with 32 points and 18 rebounds, which are career-highs in both categories. He made 13-20 from the field, and drained four out of his five three-point attempts.
It was evident right from the opening tip that Luke Maye was on a mission for the next 40 minutes. He was aggressive, he made shots from all over the floor, and was a monster on the boards. What was unique about how he was scoring is the fact that he was doing a much better job posting up defenders, executing spin moves for fade-away jumpers, coming off screens, and just in general putting himself into position to make good plays. He was energetic, intense, and in general looked like he was having a lot of fun on the court.
One thing to note about Maye’s performance is that he spent a considerable amount of time playing the five position. Roy Williams started the “death lineup” against the Eagles, and Luke Maye seemed to benefit greatly from the change. Williams made sure to point out in the post-game press conference that he started the small lineup because it made the most sense against that particular match-up. We may or may not see the lineup again against Notre Dame, but if we do hopefully Maye will continue to flourish and re-enter the All-American discussion.
Welcome back, Luke. We missed you.