UNC lost their ACC/Big 10 Challenge game against Ohio State Wednesday evening, but they suffered a potentially worse loss when Armando Bacot left the game with an ankle injury after just seven minutes. The rest of the game felt like a shell-shocked squad going through the motions on their way to a 74-49 defeat.
The shooting was terrible for the Tar Heels. They finished the game at just 27% from the floor, making just 17 field goals on the night. There were several instances where the team was able to cut the deficit to single digits before things got very out of hand late. Carolina didn’t score at all over the last three minutes of the game with mostly reserves playing out the final minutes. The Buckeyes went on a 17-2 run to close things out.
Bacot stepped on a defender’s foot (how many times has that happened this year, by the way?) and rolled his ankle something fierce. He was unable to put any weight on it as he was helped off the court and down the tunnel by his teammates. The freshman’s presence inside really can’t be overstated, and Carolina wasn’t able to do anything on the interior after he left.
UNC was out-rebounded 48-32, which generally always spells disaster for Roy Williams’ teams. They also only scored ten points in the paint to Ohio State’s 30. With Garrison Brooks nursing some foul trouble and Bacot hurt, UNC was forced to turn to Brandon Huffman for extended minutes. Unfortunately, Huffman ran into foul trouble of his own by playing rather out of control, which just left the Heels without much of anything to stop the attack inside.
Cole Anthony was the leading scorer for UNC with 15 points on the back of four three-pointers. Brandon Robinson finished with the second-most points with nine. Roy did sub a completely new five into the game when he was unhappy with how his regulars were performing. Surprisingly, that second unit actually out-scored Ohio State while they were in the game. It wasn’t enough by any means, but they kept the bleeding at bay for those few minutes and it was a commendable effort.
The 25-point loss was the worst at home in Roy’s 17 years in Chapel Hill. It was an ugly effort without a doubt. It’s easy to look at the Bacot injury and wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t gotten hurt, as the beginning of the game seemed much more evenly matched than the final score would lead you to believe. Them’s the breaks, though, and Carolina has had more than their fair share of breaks so far.
UNC will have to regroup in a hurry as they travel to Charlottesville to take on a really good defensive team in Virginia. If the offense doesn’t improve it’s going to be another long game for the guys in light blue.