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UNC Basketball vs. St. Francis (PA)-Player of the Game: Cameron Johnson

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A healthy Cameron Johnson is a really good Cameron Johnson.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee Tech at North Carolina Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

On a night where it felt like the North Carolina Tar Heels were going through the motions, Cameron Johnson set a tone early. He exploded for five quick points, to give Carolina a lead they would never relinquish even though it would get close in the second half.

Johnson just had an all-around great night. He scored 20 points, even though he only shot two of six from beyond the arc, because he found ways to get to the basket. He was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line, grabbed six rebounds, had two assists, a block, and a steal. He was also one of only two players to be on the floor for 28 minutes, with the other player being Kenny Williams, who didn’t have a bad night himself.

This is not the first night that Johnson has shown that the offseason hip surgery has turned him into a new player, but Monday night was perhaps the night where Johnson served real notice that he is going to be a force defenders have to reckon with the rest of the season. He has moves to get to the basket, his three-point shot is smooth, and he’s comfortable enough to bang down low and get rebounds.

It’s worth noting on the season that Johnson is still shooting about 57% from three on the year, 59% overall, is averaging 17 points, and is at 24 minutes/game on the floor. It’s almost like he's a new player.

The fight for this award was close, as freshman stud Nassir Little came in a very close second in points with 19, and of course had this wonderful highlight:

Little did his damage in only 16 minutes on the floor, again coming off the bench, and shot 8-9 from the floor. Johnson, however, gets the nod for the overall game.

So far, it’s been a fight between these two for the PoG honors, and as the competition ramps up it’ll be interesting to see if both can keep up this pace.