Writing Player of the Game articles after a loss can sometimes feel a bit empty. A lot of that is because we’re forced to find a bright spot while also being incredibly disappointed at the result. There are certainly a lot of tough lessons to be learned from Wednesday’s loss to Florida State, but Joel Berry II gave his team a lot of hope right down to the wire.
Putting the ball in the hands of Berry with the game on the line late in the second half made perfect sense. The team’s senior leader scored a game-high 28 points, and his hot second half was a huge reason the Heels were even in contention for a win. Berry also made the big shot late in the game against Wake Forest to put Carolina ahead.
Unfortunately, this time the shot didn’t go. The Heels didn’t emerge with a victory. That’s very frustrating. Immediately after Berry’s miss, people became frustrated that the point guard took it upon himself to make the shot with UNC down just one point instead of kicking it out to an open Cameron Johnson on the wing. Berry himself acknowledged that he missed Cam and that it was his fault.
Being that kind of leader is one of the things that makes Berry one of the best to ever put on the Carolina uniform. He is a true competitor in every sense of the word, but he is also humble enough to admit when he makes a mistake. You should have no doubt that he’ll learn from that and be better next time out.
Berry’s 28 points were enough to earn him Player of the Game honors, but how he handled everything afterwards just cemented that fact.