For anyone watching UNC basketball tonight expecting a nice relaxing Friday evening found out that the Brown Bears had other plans. Brown gave UNC nearly all they could handle, taking a three-point lead to the locker room on a made buzzer-beater three that made it 50-47 at the break. Hey, some things never change.
RJ Davis caught fire at the right time and scored a career-high 26 points on six three-pointers with six assists and just one turnover. Armando Bacot spent most of the game not missing from the field on his way to 22 points and ten rebounds. Caleb Love was also effective with 13 points and five assists to just one turnover. The fourth and final Tar Heel in double figures was Brady Manek off the bench with 14.
Carolina got Brown into a world of foul trouble from the jump in the second half. It resulted in the Heels having a huge advantage at the charity stripe, making 21 of their 28 attempts while Brown only shot nine free throws in the whole game. Neither team turned the ball over much with Brown narrowly besting UNC in the category, 5-7.
Brown did have the advantage in the paint, which was surprising. They out-scored UNC 44-36 down low, but Carolina was better on the offensive glass with 19 second chance points.
Playing a close game this time of year is a little nerve-wracking, and I doubt anyone circled the game against Brown as a potential upset. For an alarming amount of time, it looked like the Bears might be able to shoot just well enough to pull off the upset. It wasn’t for a lack of offense on UNC’s part, but the Heels couldn’t do much defensively to stop Brown on the other end.
For all of the struggles, UNC did enough to hold off Brown at the end and come away with the win. We’ve seen Carolina teams in the recent past fall behind and not be able to pull themselves up off the mat. It was at least encouraging to see this team buckle down and find a way to win, even if it was helped quite a bit with the foul trouble their opponent found themselves in.
UNC’s next game is Tuesday when they hit the road to take on College of Charleston.