It’s no secret that Caleb Love’s college career so far has been a struggle. After coming in as a consensus top ten recruit, he’s averaged 9.0 points (on 28% shooting), 3.0 assists, and 3.2 turnovers per game. After spending the early season in the starting lineup, he came off the bench in several games as North Carolina struggled in all facets on the game.
In UNC’s 80-73 win over Wake Forest, Love played his best game so far and hopefully showed a sign of things to come.
Against the Demon Deacons, Love led the Heels with 20 points, going 7-12 from the floor and 2-3 from three. He also had four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals. He did commit three turnovers, but those are a lot easier to deal when UNC on the whole did a better job limiting them. (As a team, they committed just 12.)
Love also did a lot of important work down the stretch of the game. With just over 10 minutes left, a Wake three-pointer tied the game at 53. Love scored nine of the Heels’ 27 points in the final ten minutes, helping the Heels eventually pull away and win by eight. He also had a big and-1 with just under five minutes left. That took UNC’s lead from five to eight, and after it, the closest the Demon Deacons got was seven points. He also capped off the game with two highlight reel dunks as UNC broke Wake’s press.
Other contenders for player of the game include Armando Bacot, who went for 18 points on 8-10 shooting, also finishing with six rebounds and three assists. There’s also Leaky Black, who did his normal job filling up the stat sheet all over the place. He went for eight points, eight assists, six rebounds, and two steals. R.J. Davis had a nice little cameo off the bench, putting up 13 points in 17 minutes.
One thing that has to be mentioned is that Wake is not particularly good. The loss has taken them to 3-6 overall and 0-6 in the ACC. Their best win is either over 4-13 Longwood or one by eight points against a Division II team. One performance against Wake Forest does not mean that everything will be smooth sailing for Love from here on out. However, it was a genuinely good performance and hopefully means that he’s truly starting to find his feet in college basketball.