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UNC Basketball vs. Brown: Three Things Learned

Carolina News Team had their hands full in this Bear fight

Brown v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It was not another early season tune-up, like most Tar Heel fans expected. Carolina had to buckle down against a hot-shooting Brown Bears team that came ready to play after a year off. Here are three things learned from the 94-87 win over Brown.

First-Half defensive woes

Brown led 50-47 at the half. The three-point lead isn’t the big news, it’s the total points scored. That’s bad.

Carolina had a huge problem keeping the Bears from scoring at the rim. Brown went 19-29 from inside the arc (26 points inside the paint), with a lot of those scores coming against simple drives against single defenders. Carolina did a poor job stopping drives, switching men, and as a result of pulling the ball out of their net so often, couldn’t get into their primary break.

Leaky Black was whistled for two quick fouls, and as a result, played only five minutes in the first half. Whether his man-defense would’ve made a difference isn’t guaranteed, but Kerwin Walton and Justin McKoy didn’t fare much better.

Caleb Love steps up as a facilitator

After leading the Heels in scoring against Loyola (MD) with 22 points in the season opener, Caleb Love had to put on his facilitator hat against a sportier Brown team. Love had a tough defensive match-up against Paxson Wojcik, who jumped out of the blocks for a big first half, scoring 10 points on 5-9 shooting. Wojcik was +13 in the first half.

In the second half, Love played 20 minutes and largely locked the junior guard down, limiting Wojcik to 4 points on 2-10 shooting, and a -1 rating. Additionally, the sophomore point guard had 5 assists to only one turnover, a crucial stat when Brown was putting up two points on just about every possession, it seemed.

No assist was bigger than the final offensive set before the game devolved into intentional fouling. With under a minute, Leaky Black drove to the hoop and threw a pass to Caleb Love at the top of the key. Instead of shooting himself, he swung one more time to an even more open R.J. Davis, who had just hit a big three on the previous possession.

Last season, maybe Love takes that shot. This season, he found the hot hand and Carolina salted the game away with the W.

Carolina has variety in scoring

On Tuesday night, it was the Caleb Love and Brady Manek show. Last night, it was Armando Bacot and R.J. Davis.

Having reliable scoring from familiar faces is a good thing. But so is having the ability to rotate who your leading scorer is based on match-ups, and who has the hot hand.

In the first half and early in the second half, Armando Bacot was that guy. Brown didn’t have the size to match up with him, and he hit his first nine shots in a row, en route to 22 points on 10-11 shooting. He also led all players in rebounds with 10. But in the second half, Brown started going for broke double-teaming Bacot, and had some joy turning the ball over on post entries.

Enter R.J. Davis.

Davis had more shots than anyone on the court, and with good reason. He was 9-17 from the field, 6-9 from three. When Carolina made their push to take the lead, Davis hit two threes in a row to make it 78-77, then 81-77 UNC, and at the tail end of the game, hit two more big threes in a row to ward off Brown’s last push.

Bacot and Davis deserve the plaudits for a tough win over Brown. Last night, they looked like these two legends: