To call the game against Miami ugly would be an understatement. For large chunks of time, the Tar Heels had more turnovers than field goals (they finished with one more field goal than turnover) and looked like the worst version of themselves despite the fact that Miami was playing poorly and was also without a number of key players.
Yet, as if by some miracle, Carolina managed to pull out a victory. Miami went 2 for 17 down the stretch and failed to make a field goal for over seven minutes. That was enough for UNC to step up their game, thanks to some clutch baskets from guys like Leaky Black, and ultimately do enough to put themselves in position to get a bucket with three seconds left from Andrew Platek. Miami’s last second attempt glanced off the front rim and seemed like it was more rushed than necessary, but we’ll take whatever we can get.
Black was an unlikely hero in the game, sinking four three-pointers on his way to leading the team in scoring with 16 points. He nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds. Freshmen Day’Ron Sharpe and Kerwin Walton joined Black in double figures with 12 and 13 points, respectively, with Sharpe grabbing 16 boards as well.
When any team turns the ball over 20 times they will lose more often than not, but this team has shown a particular propensity to lose when they cannot take care of the ball. The Hurricanes scored 19 points off those giveaways that truly made the game as close as it was. Without that, it would have likely been a blowout in UNC’s favor. It’s nearing broken record status to say that can’t continue if they want to be successful against teams that aren’t missing players the caliber of a Chris Lykes, but it seems to be extremely hit or miss.
So it wasn’t pretty but wins count no matter how you get them. A little two-game win streak is a decent foundation for this young team to try and build on as we get into the thick of the ACC schedule.
UNC will be back in action on Saturday against a ranked Clemson team.