The Tar Heels got back on track with a 75-59 victory at home against Georgia Tech, snapping a four-game losing streak. While the team looked a bit sluggish for much of the first stanza, the Heels ignited out of the under-four TV timeout with an 11-0 run to close the half. Those three minutes gave fans a glimpse of vintage Carolina basketball and what this team can ultimately become.
With Seth Trimble in for Caleb Love during the run, the Heels hounded the Yellow Jackets on defense, forcing them into bad shots and turnovers. Offensively, the ball movement was impeccable. The shining example of this was a three-pointer by Pete Nance, which was set up by everyone on the floor touching the ball before RJ Davis passed up an open jumper for a wide open Nance. Hubert Davis said he preached in practice this week about making the extra pass and turning down good shots for great shots, and his guys listened.
That play is a nice lead-in to Saturday’s player of the game: RJ Davis. Davis finished the game with an impressive double-double, notching 22 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists and a steal. He shot 8-13 from the field and 5-6 from the foul line. Davis did an incredible job commanding the offense and ensuring the Heels got good looks.
I believe Carolina basketball is at its best when RJ Davis brings the ball up and initiates the offense, but it’s oftentimes the second or third touch of the possession when Davis does his damage. He is so good at taking advantage of an off-balance defense and getting to his spots. The efficiency speaks for itself, but nothing about Davis’ scoring was a fluke. When you throw in the ten rebounds to secure the improbable double-double, it was an altogether gritty performance from Davis.
That’s not to say he wasn’t without competition for player of the game. Armando Bacot put up 21 points, 13 rebounds, and zero turnovers in what was arguably his most complete outing of the season. The rest of the team did a nice job making a conscious effort to get Bacot the ball, and Georgia Tech’s bigs simply couldn’t handle him. Trimble also provided solid minutes off the bench with his tenacious defense and strong decision-making with the ball. He finished with four points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal, and zero turnovers.