For the first time all season, UNC didn’t trail in the first half. Unfortunately, they trailed late and couldn’t find a way to keep Georgia Tech from going to the line enough to put the game away. The Tar Heels had a chance to tie the game with less than a minute to go with a three-pointer, but RJ Davis missed the open shot and two free throws on the other end doomed Carolina to another brutal December loss to the Yellow Jackets.
Carolina actually had decent luck from beyond the arc in the game, which has been a point of contention this season. They hit eight of their 20 attempts from long distance with three of them coming from Kerwin Walton. Armando Bacot led the way in scoring with 14 points ahead of Leaky Black with 10. They were the only Heels in double figures.
Roy Williams attempted to switch things up by going with a starting lineup of RJ Davis, Walton, Andrew Platek, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Bacot. The result wasn’t bad, but a few of the regular starters did manage to have solid games off the bench. Garrison Brooks ditched the goggles he’d been using to protect his eyes after a couple incidents last year and it seemed to help the senior with his shooting. We’ll have to see if that continues into their next game or not.
Turnovers, unfortunately, still managed to be the Heels’ undoing. The team turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 19 points for the Yellow Jackets. Add to that the fact that UNC had gone a significant chunk of the game without missing a free throw before reverting to their normal form to finish 64% from the charity stripe. In a close game, each of these small things matter.
Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe put a particular hurt on the Heels. Each player scored 20 points including the crucial free throws down the stretch for Alvarado. Georgia Tech got just one point from their bench but won the battle down low in points in the paint. They led for less than four minutes of game time, but their lead came when it mattered.
I know a lot of you are probably thinking that this year is a little too close to last year for comfort and there isn’t a lot I can tell you that would change your mind. It’s been frustrating for sure. Having such a young team comes with expected growing pains but the calendar is getting ready to flip to 2021 and it can’t really be considered early anymore. Hopefully the new year brings better fortune.
Carolina will be back in action on January 5th against Miami.