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UNC 97, UNCW 69: Tar Heels use big second half run to down the Seahawks

Cameron Johnson came up big for Carolina in the win.

North Carolina-Wilmington v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Roy Williams kept his team in the locker room for all but about 30 seconds of halftime, which has been a trend over the last several games. Although the Tar Heels had a nine-point lead at the half, there was reason for the coach to once again lay into his team for their performance.

This time, though, the paint-peeling halftime speech seemed to pay off. UNC came out looking better in the second half and used an absolutely monstrous 30-3 run to really put the game away a little over halfway through the second half. In that time, UNCW played some absolutely miserable basketball, turning the ball over nine times. It was enough for Carolina to jump way ahead and never look back.

Cameron Johnson was the star of the show for UNC, scoring 21 points and pulling down five rebounds. Cam hit three three-pointers and turned the ball over just once. Almost equally important, he only committed one foul. In a game where Luke Maye picked up his fourth foul with over 16 minutes remaining, and with Garrison Brooks having been in foul trouble repeatedly over the last five games, it was good that Johnson was able to stay out of the brunt of it.

Nassir Little was second on the team in points with 14, also with five rebounds, but he committed three turnovers. Little did play 21 minutes, equal to the minutes of Brooks and just one minute less than Maye. Some of that may be partially due to the absence of Coby White and Brandon Robinson. Kenny Williams and Maye finished with 11 points each and Seventh Woods finished with a fitting seven points.

The good for the Tar Heels was obvious: they scored 50 points in the paint and scored 34 points off 25 UNCW’s turnovers. Carolina committed 15 turnovers themselves. They also assisted on 23 of their 37 field goals, which always makes Coach Williams happy.

It’s an interesting game because it’s definitely the score you would expect to have when playing UNCW. There were certainly issues in the first half that kept the game pretty close, but the big run in the second half made all of that feel pretty insignificant. In all, it still feels like a UNC team that is learning and growing, as you would expect a team to do this time of year. They aren’t a finished product by any means, but hopefully the lighter schedule gives them the time they need to sharpen the results before ACC play, which creeps ever closer.

Carolina is back in action on the 15th at home against Gonzaga in a rematch of the 2017 National Championship game.