North Carolina’s struggles continued on Wednesday night as they went to Indiana and fell 77-65 to the Hoosiers. It was a weird game as despite getting outshot 50% to 34%, they managed to somewhat hang on until the final minutes, with Indiana scoring eight points all via free throws over the final 1:09 to ice things away.
In the first half, it especially seemed like they were on the verge of losing control and the game turning into a blowout, as they shot just 28.6%. Despite that, they ended the half down just six, which allowed them to somewhat stay in the contest until late. A large part of the reason, the game never got truly out of control was thanks to UNC’s leading scorer and rebounder Pete Nance.
Nance finished the trip to Bloomington with a team high 15 points and 12 rebounds, while also chipping in with an assist, a block, and a steal. Eleven of those points came in the first half, as he accounted for nearly half of the team’s made field foals over the first 20 minutes. Taking him out of the equation, the Heels shot just 23%, and the game almost certainly would’ve been over then and there.
In the second half, Nance dropped off, as he and the rest of the team attempted to shoot their way back into the game. A 1-5 shooting line in the second half dinged his overall numbers to not incredibly efficient 4-11, but a couple of those shots came in the last couple minutes as UNC attempted to keep their hopes alive. He also did all that while matched up on defense against Hoosiers’ star Trayce Jackson-Davis at points, with Armando Bacot still seemingly hampered with injury issues. That didn’t always go great, but it’s not as if anyone else was shutting him down.
A large part of the reason UNC was able to keep the game somewhat close was them regularly getting to the line and knocking down free throws. Nance did his part in that department, going 6-8 from the line, leading the team in attempts.
No one played especially well for Carolina on Wednesday night in Bloomington. If you wanted to award player of the game strictly on plus/minus, it would be Seth Trimble at +2, and he only played nine minutes. In a game with a less than stellar offensive performance, Nance at least gave them some of that.