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UNC vs. Pitt - Player of the Game: Coby White

The freshman led all players in scoring as the Tar Heels got off to a 1-0 start in ACC play.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Since returning from the Las Vegas trip, it’s been a okay, but not great couple weeks for Coby White. He’s averaged 11 points per game, but done so on less than 40% shooting. He had one game with seven assists against Davidson, but then combined that with his worst shooting performance of the season, going 1-7. He hasn’t quite been able to put everything together into one overall great game.

That changed Saturday.

White led UNC in scoring against Pitt, putting up 22 points on 8-15 shooting. He went 4-10 from three in the game, and also finished with three assists and four rebounds. He did turn the ball over five times, but his overall performance was more than enough to get him player of the game honors.

After a back and forth stretch early in the game, the Tar Heels took control for good with a 30-9 run in the last 12 minutes of the first half. White scored 12 points in that stretch, including a buzzer-beating layup to sent Carolina into halftime up 22. He then scored four of UNC’s first six points in the second half, and it soon became clear UNC had the game in hand.

The other main contender for the award was, unsurprisingly this season, Cam Johnson. The senior went for 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. For a decent stretch of the first half until White took over, he had more made field goals than the rest of the team combined. This was Johnson’s first game in Pittsburgh since transferring, and he got the “booed every time he touched the ball routine” early on. We know why, but it is funny that he was booed for leaving. He left seemingly because he didn’t want to play for Kevin Stallings, which the school also decided they didn’t want to do a year later.

Luke Maye also gets some acknowledgement, as he went for 17 points and 11 rebounds. In the style of last season, it was a fairly quiet double-double.

No offense to the Panthers, but away at Pitt was a seemingly golden chance for the Tar Heels to open the ACC schedule with a win. Coby White’s big game made more than sure UNC wouldn’t mess up that chance.