Not that anything would have helped UNC’s performance against Louisville, but things started to go wrong on Saturday when Coby White picked up his second foul and went to the bench just two minutes into the game.
While he did spend time on the bench with foul trouble in this one, and did eventually exit the game after picking up a fifth late, it was a different story three days later. White was around for the key moments against Notre Dame, and because of that, he was able to help lead Carolina to a win.
The freshman led the Tar Heels in scoring, finishing with 17 points on 6-11 shooting, including a scorching 4-7 from three. He also picked up five rebounds, an assist, and a steal, while only turning the ball over two times. It was a fairly balanced scoring night as four Tar Heels finished in double digits, but White led the way.
The first half was another fairly sloppy performance for UNC, and they went into the break down by three. Notre Dame then immediately doubled that lead within the first 15 seconds of the second half. About a minute later, White hit a three to make sure the game didn’t slip away, the first of a couple key second half buckets from him.
After the teams traded the lead back and forth for a while, White hit another big three with just over six minutes left. That put Carolina up by two, and they would never trail again. His layup at the 2:28 mark put the Tar Heels up eight, giving UNC some pretty solid separation for the first time all night. For all intents and purposes, it was over after that.
The other major candidate under consideration was Nassir Little, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds. All of his baskets came in the second half, most of them during the run which saw the Tar Heels turn things around and put the Irish away. Luke Maye also finished with a sneaky double-double of 14 and 10, but not on the most efficient of shooting nights. Also, a shoutout to Seventh Woods, whose chasedown block and drawn foul at the other end helped spark the big run, is in order.
Not putting away a team of Notre Dame’s caliber until the last couple minutes is far from ideal, especially at home. However, after Saturday, we’ll take it. Coby White was one of the key factors in making sure this win wasn’t actually a repeat of the Louisville game.