We all missed basketball this offseason, but few of us probably missed the feeling of the early-season pit in your stomach that comes along with seeing the Tar Heels playing a game late and close against a team they should beat. Give credit to UNC, they went on the road and came away with a win against a team that knocked them off in Chapel Hill last year.
The Terriers tied the game at 45 in the second half, but the Heels responded with a big run that helped them pull ahead for good. Luke Maye led all scorers with 24 points with two shots from distance. Garrison Brooks had a career night with 20 points and five rebounds.
Rebounding was one area of concern for the Heels. They narrowly beat Wofford on the boards, 39-33, but Wofford was able to get a number of offensive rebounds that kept the game close throughout the first half. Turnovers were another area that caused heartburn for UNC fans throughout the game. Carolina coughed it up 16 times with Coby White, Cam Johnson, and Kenny Williams each giving it away three times. You can bet Roy Williams is going to have them work on protecting the ball better before they take on Elon this Friday.
Tonight was another game in which Williams cycled players in and out regularly. There were a number of lineup combinations used, some potentially due to frustration with the lack of effectiveness at times. Nassir Little got some good action off the bench with a big three-pointer, two strong blocks, and three assists.
We also got a look at what healthy Cam Johnson can do for this team and it was incredibly impressive. Johnson knocked down five big three-pointers on his way to 17 points and led the team in rebounds with eight. He was one of the best players on the court in Carolina blue. Although Kenny Williams didn’t score a basket, he did all of the things he always does: led the team in assists with five and pulled down six rebounds.
The tape of this game will not go on a highlight package for UNC when the season is over, but they fought hard against a good team with one of the best three-point shooters in college basketball. Fletcher Magee hurt UNC when these two teams met in the Dean Dome last season, and he continued his heroics for the Terriers in Spartanburg with 21 points. Luckily for the boys in light blue, it wasn’t enough.
If UNC can clean up the issues that we saw against Mount Olive and again tonight things should look a lot better. Hopefully they can work those issues out sooner rather than later. They’ll be back in action Friday night at Elon.