Well, yesterday was frustrating. A bad last 10-ish minutes saw North Carolina unable to hold a nine-point lead, and eventually lose 76-74 to Pitt. Everything that could’ve went wrong for the Tar Heels, between their play and some calls, did. As a result, the progress they had seemed to make over the course of December feels like it’s been reset.
The biggest issue in the stretch that saw Carolina lose the game was on offense. They scored just 14 points from the 10 minute mark to the 10 second mark, which was far from enough to hold off the Panthers. In a game where offense often came at a premium for UNC, when picking player of the game, let’s just go with the guy who was seemingly the only one who could regularly put the ball in the hoop.
Armando Bacot led the Tar Heels in scoring on Friday, finishing with 22 points on 8-14 shooting, going 6-7 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 13 rebounds to complete another double-double. UNC’s 43.1% performance from the field was already not great, but if you take out Bacot, that figure drops to 38.6%. Pete Nance was the only other starter who hit 50% of his shots, and he was limited to just eight attempts.
From the 3:18 mark of the first half until that midway-ish point of the second, it seemed like the Heels were on the verge of putting away Pitt without much issue. Over that period, they outscored the Panthers 25-16 after the game had previously been tied at 30. During that time, Bacot scored nine of UNC’s points as Pitt seemed to struggle with a way to handle him. Bacot, and really everyone else, faded down the stretch, which allowed the frustrating loss to come to fruition.
It’s been a frustrating start to the UNC basketball season so far, and whew boy was the loss to Pitt up there.