Other than the season opener, none of North Carolina’s performances this season have been particularly dominant. Of course, the two most recent games were losses, but the two wins prior to that both required second half comebacks, despite coming against small conference competition.
While the first half against UNC Asheville wasn’t the sharpest, North Carolina had opened up a 13-point lead at the break. You would’ve hoped they turned it on and cruised to an easy win. By the final margin, it might look like they did that, but for a while there, things were not good. UNC was very sloppy all game long, finishing with 18 turnovers. Asheville got within seven points, and had a couple opportunities to get even closer than that. The Heels went through a pretty bad scoring drought, and needed someone to step up and stem the tide. Luckily, they had Armando Bacot to feed. He managed to consistently put the ball in the basket and help Carolina build their lead back out and eventually win 72-53. For that, he gets our player of the game for the win over the Bulldogs.
Bacot finished as Carolina’s leading scorer going for 22 points on 8-14 shooting, while also finishing with 7 rebounds, and a block. He also scored nine consecutive points for UNC in the second half, turning what was just into a seven-point lead into a 14-point one. That mostly ended the worrying funk that allowed Asheville back into the game, and the closest the score got after that was 13 points. With all the turnovers by UNC, it shouldn’t be surprising that he committed two, but he was far from the worst on that front.
Besides Bacot, there weren’t a ton of other good options for POTG. RJ Davis finished as UNC’s second leading scorer with 12, but he was one of the main sources of the Heels’ sloppy play, committing four turnovers. The actual second best performer was probably Leaky Black, who nearly put up a double-double, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds. Brady Manek went for eight point and nine rebounds, but his two turnovers both came at unideal times in the game.
This game had the hallmarks of one played by a UNC team licking their wounds from the weekend and just wanting to get it over with and get to Thanksgiving break. Let’s hope it’s out of their system now, because there’s not a ton more “easy” games on paper remaining.