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Carolina’s freshman spark plug earns Player of the Game honors

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Coby White is looking more and more comfortable at the point as time goes on.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels took care of business last night against Virginia Tech, earning a 103-82 victory to move into first place in the ACC.

Coby White finished with a game-high 27 points, going 9-16 from the floor, including 5-11 from three. His seven rebounds led the team as well. As did his six assists. And also his four steals. Yes, you’re reading that correctly: White led the team in all four categories. That seems good.

He finished with six assists with just three turnovers. White added in four steals and one blocks.

In fact, according to a press release by UNC after the game, it was historically good:

Coby White becomes the first Tar Heel to lead #UNC in points, rebounds, assists and steals in a game since Joe Forte vs. Duke on Feb. 1, 2001.

White threw in a block for good measure, and, to top it all off, he only turned the ball over three times. White was 9/16 from the floor, including a staggering 5/11 from three-point land, as he scorched the Hokies from all three levels on offense.

Just as importantly, though, White and his teammates’ efforts on the defensive end really turned the game around for the Heels, who were down by as much as nine with eight minutes into the game. White’s continued intense ball pressure on the point guard, particularly with VT’s starter Justin Robinson sidelined for long stretches with foul trouble, went a long way in limiting the Hokies’ offense after their hot start. VT was held scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the first half, allowing the Tar Heels to turn around that nine-point deficit into a 45-31 halftime lead. And during this stretch, White continued to hit big shots: his three-pointer at the 4:51 mark of the first half gave Carolina its first lead since the opening minutes, one they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

White, after some inconsistency to start the season outside his magical run in Las Vegas, has really started to show some comfort at the point guard position, and this game, where he managed the floor, played hard defense, and led all scorers, is a perfect example.

Additionally, the effort of Nassir Little cannot be overlooked. After some reported coaching from assistant coach Hubert Davis on his shooting and better shot selection, he added a career-high 23 points in perhaps his best game of the season.

Little was 7-12 from the floor, including 2-3 from three. His five other made baskets were in the paint, including two dunks.

White’s excellence was integral to this win over a top-10 team, and hopefully both his and Little’s performances are indicators of what’s to come for the Heels.