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UNC Basketball vs. Furman: Player of the Game - Dawson Garcia

It’s really a take-your-pick among UNC big men, but Dawson Garcia’s hot start pushes him over the top.

Furman v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Hubert Davis has brought a healthy amount of change to Carolina’s style of basketball. Spacing and shooting have taken priority over dominating rebounds and scoring inside. But sometimes, the old ways work best, especially when it’s a battle of teams that just shoot 3’s versus the team that stands taller.

Furman came to play as advertised, touted as a traveling carnival of sorts, chuckers of 30+ 3-point attempts a night. In the first half, it felt like the Paladins could trip up the Heels with that outside shooting. Furman hit 8-15 3-pointers to go into the half tied with Carolina, the long distance shot equalizing UNC’s +2 shot attempts and +7 FT shooting (the Tar Heels went 8-12 from the FT line, Furman was 1-1).

But the hot first-half shooting from Furman would only allow them to keep up for a half. On the opposite end, the Paladins were getting worked inside. Dawson Garcia was a man on a mission, scoring Carolina’s first nine points, and the first seven points of the game altogether. He finished the half with 16 points, five boards, and three assists (two of the spectacular variety).

Carolina wore down Furman with their trio of big men. Garcia combined with Armando Bacot and Brady Manek to emulate King Ghidorah, the three-headed nemesis of Godzilla. The three UNC bigs combined for 47 points and were a big reason why Caleb Love and R.J. Davis had less scoring than in recent games. They were too busy feeding their bigs against a diminutive Furman team that simply didn’t have the size to match up.

Garcia gave Furman the most varied ass whipping. He opened his scoring with a corner three. He hit lay-ups on the break, put-backs, mid-range, and hit 5-6 free throws. Manek was a maniac on the offensive boards, and had three put-backs at the rim, along with a whistle-clean 3-pointer from the wing. Bacot was dominant, scoring 14 points at the rim (and badly missing his only 3-point attempt) and grabbing 12 rebounds. The trio’s offense worked in perfect harmony, putting the team’s chemistry concerns from a few weeks ago in the rear view mirror.

This type of Dawson Garcia performance is not only great for himself, but it will potentially lead to even bigger games for Bacot down low, and for Love and Davis attacking the rim. Only good things can happen for Carolina if Garcia continues to play at this level.