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UNC vs. Yale - Player of the Game: Justin Pierce

It was a mixed bag for the Tar Heels as they picked up a win over Yale.

NCAA Basketball: Yale at North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Choosing a player of the game for UNC’s 70-67 over Yale is a bit of a weird one.

Arguably the brightest spot of the game was Anthony Harris. However, he scored just six points on 2-5 shooting, and got injured late in the game, the extent of which is still unknown at time of writing.

The Tar Heels’ leading scorer was Brandon Robinson. Scoring 20 of the team’s 70 points would normally be more than good enough. However, he wasn’t exactly making shots at a great clip, going just 7-18. He also made occasionally made some less than ideal decisions, got himself in foul trouble, and eventually picked up his fifth, causing him to be off the floor for the Bulldogs’ potential game-tying shot. Beyond that, he was also a -1 in plus/minus.

The third main option, and this selection for Monday’s game is Justin Pierce. The forward finished as the Tar Heels’ second leading scored, finishing with 14 points on 6-11 shooting. He also grabbed seven rebounds, and in general was just a really good spark off the bench for Carolina.

Eight of his points came in the second half as UNC took a four-point halftime lead to as high as 13 points midway through the second. Six of those point came early in the second, after it appeared Carolina was going to give up yet another early second half run. The Bulldogs did make it a game again late on, but Pierce was a key part in what looked like it was going to be a mostly smooth second half.

The only other Tar Heels who were solid and was worthy of mention include Garrison Brooks who went for 11 points and 11 rebounds, but he got notably blocked a couple times. Jeremiah Francis was also decent in his first start at the point guard slot.

Justin Pierce came from a mid-major school, and played well in his time there, so it shouldn’t be totally shocking that he had a good game when UNC faces off against one of those teams. However, the calendar is about to turn to 2020 and now it’s ACC time. So, he, and everyone else, are going to need to step things up.