If you happened to tune in for the first few minutes of UNC’s game against Virginia Tech and then walk away without checking the score for a while, you were probably very confused. The Tar Heels went down nine against the Hokies early on, thanks to hot three-point shooting from VT and cold everything shooting from the home team. Thankfully, a switch flipped about halfway through the first half and it was all Carolina from then on, culminating in a 103-82 victory.
Coby White was an unstoppable force as he helped to ignite the offense after the team fell behind. White led the way in scoring for the Heels with 27 points including five shots from distance. He also tallied seven rebounds and six assists. Nassir Little was not far behind his fellow freshman with 23 points off the bench including two threes of his own. Garrison Brooks, Kenny Williams, and Luke Maye finished out the five Heels in double figures.
UNC closed the first half on a 20-2 run that kept the Hokies at a comfortable distance for the remainder of the game. Both teams finished with nearly identical percentages from beyond the arc (UNC 47%, VT 46%) but Carolina was able to rally back to finish the game with 16 made threes to Virginia Tech’s 13. While UNC shot nearly 70% from beyond the arc in the second half, VT shot only 38% from distance after halftime.
The turnover numbers for UNC in the first half were pretty pristine with just four to Virginia Tech’s 12. Things were reversed in the second half with Carolina giving the ball away nine times and the Hokies protecting the ball better with just four turnovers.
It really can’t be overstated how impressive a performance this was for Carolina. To do this against the #10 team in the country proves that this team is capable of very dangerous things when they execute defensively and get their shots to fall on the other end of the court. For what might be the first time all year, an opponent came out swinging at the Tar Heels and they sustained the punch until they could return the swings on their own. A number of times this year, the Heels have crumbled a bit under the pressure of falling behind. That was certainly not the case tonight against a very good team.
UNC gets a breather with no games until next Tuesday when they take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Hopefully they rest up but keep that same energy when they face off against the Yellow Jackets.