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UNC at Florida State - Player of the Game: Christian Keeling

The grad transfer notched a season-high in the Tar Heels’ loss to Florida State.

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

For this year’s team, a six-point loss on the road to a top ten team doesn’t seem too bad on the surface. However, if you actually watched the game, it was one of the ugliest games yet for the Heels.

Carolina actually had control of the game for most of the first half but the Seminoles went on a 9-0 run in the final two minutes to go up by one at the break. Then, during a long stretch of the second half, the Tar Heels missed seventeen straight field goals. Thus, it’s even more difficult than usual to select a player of the game. With that being said, Christian Keeling put together arguably his best performance of the season.

Keeling scored a season-high 14 points on 5-10 shooting and he also added two steals. He knocked down a pair of jumpers roughly midway through the first half to help the Heels take a six-point advantage, and he came up big again in the final minutes of the game with a couple buckets to keep them in the game, including a three-pointer to cut the lead to four with 52 seconds left.

Touted as a three-level scoring guard upon arriving in Chapel Hill, Keeling has struggled to find his shot thus far with the Tar Heels. The silver lining from this game, if there is one, is that he played with as much as confidence as he’s played with all season long. Given the lack of offense from everyone else, it’s imperative that he builds off of this moving forward.

The leading scorer for Carolina, unsurprisingly, was Cole Anthony with 16. However, 5-22 from the field and 3-8 from the free throw line are not going to win you player of the game honors. Granted, he did have to force up some tough ones late in the shot clock, but the fact that Keeling made the same amount of field goals in less than half as many attempts is a bit alarming.