It was a tale of two halves in UNC’s win over Furman on Tuesday night. The Tar Heels were tied with the Paladins at halftime before turning on the jets and putting a comfortable difference between them and their opponent on Carolina’s way to their fifth straight win.
Furman kept pace with UNC through the first 20 minutes on the back of eight three-pointers and 17 points from Alex Hunter. He went 4-5 from long distance in the first half to send things to the locker room tied 39-39. Furman shot 54% from the field in the first half, but it would turn around in a big way after the break.
The defense ramped up for Carolina after halftime, and maybe some luck also changed for the Paladins, because it took more than ten minutes into the second half until Furman hit their first three-pointer. Down the stretch, Furman had an awful stretch in which they made just one of their eighteen shots and failed to score for nearly six and a half minutes. After their offensive onslaught in the first half, the Paladins shot just 28% in the second half.
Carolina kept their 20-point scorer streak alive with Dawson Garcia having himself quite a night. He scored all of the teams first handful of points on his way to a 20-point game. Sixteen of his points came in the first half. Brady Manek scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half to join Garcia in double figures while Armando Bacot posted another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Caleb Love rounded out the Heels in double figures with ten points.
As was mentioned in the game thread, rebounding isn’t exactly a strong point for Furman and Carolina definitely made them pay for that shortcoming. UNC out-rebounded them 44-25 and scored 19 second-chance points. Furman had zero. The Tar Heels were able to assert their dominance down low and use their size to their advantage with 44 points in the paint. Furman’s game is lighting teams up from distance, as they showed in the first half, and they certainly tried it tonight with 33 attempts from long range. Fortunately, they made just two threes after halftime.
Tonight was another example of the balanced scoring that UNC can hit opponents with. Do you plan for Love to go off against you? Well Bacot can make you pay instead. Focus your attention down low on Bacot? Garcia can go off too. There are so many offensive weapons on this team, and they know how to spread the scoring around.
Another feather in their cap is holding their fifth straight team to less than 65 points. It’s no coincidence that the winning streak started when the defense tightened up after the embarrassment that was the Tennessee game. Things have looked much better as of late, and UNC has been rewarded with a nice streak of wins to show for it.
Their most difficult test in a while comes Saturday when they take on UCLA in Las Vegas for the CBS Sports Classic.