The first several minutes of UNC’s game against Georgia Tech looked exactly like what you’d expect from a team coming off a week-long break. It was ugly to say the least. Fortunately for UNC, Coby White and Cam Johnson got things going in a big way from behind the arc and helped lead Carolina to a 4-0 record on the road in ACC play in their 77-54 victory in Atlanta.
Johnson led the way for UNC in points with 22, making four of his six shots from downtown. White was right behind him with 19 points on 5-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Carolina’s freshman point guard narrowly missed out on a double-double, finishing the game with eight assists and just two turnovers. Coby’s freshman teammate, Nassir Little, also put up good numbers off the bench with nine points and seven rebounds. He was third on the team in scoring.
The Tar Heels shot 48% from both the field and from three-point distance for the game. Nine of their 13 made threes came from Johnson and White. UNC held Georgia Tech to just 13% from long range and 35% from the field. Some of that was the Yellow Jackets not being able to make their shots, but UNC’s defense was also pretty much as good as we’ve seen it for stretches of the game.
So that was the good, let’s talk about the bad. Luke Maye and Kenny Williams combined for nine points and eight of UNC’s 15 turnovers between them. Maye did have nine rebounds, but this was not an inspiring performance out of the two seniors to say the least. Garrison Brooks finished with three points but nine boards of his own.
Georgia Tech was much better at converting on points in the paint, out-scoring UNC in that department 36-22. Some of that is because Brooks was in some foul trouble again with two fouls before the end of the first half, leaving UNC without an effective defensive presence down low. Carolina was able to narrowly edge the Yellow Jackets in rebounding, 39-34.
The important thing is that Carolina was able to do enough to win on the road after their long layoff. They got very good results out of their two biggest offensive threats, and White looks like he’s really rounding into form at the perfect time. Having Maye and Williams basically no-show is certainly concerning. The team will obviously have to do much better down low if they want some revenge against Louisville on Saturday. Hopefully that is one of the lessons they take away from this game.
UNC will try to make it a perfect 5-0 on the road in conference play when they travel to the YUM! Center this Saturday.