A quick preface...
If I’m being perfectly honest, I think Armando Bacot is probably Player of the Game. When you take into account what his stats were, how much he was needed, how he managed to play through injury and foul trouble, and on and on and on... It’s really amazing to see. But I’ve written three POG articles on Bacot, and for the sake of variety, I wanted to shine the light on another player that needs some love.
D’Marco Dunn, like many players on the bench mob, has seen irregular minutes without a set rotation. He has to compete for playing time, and yesterday his efforts were rewarded. Dunn had career highs in minutes (26), points (14 - doubling his previous career best of 7 against Notre Dame), rebounds (5), and the sophomore even added a block and two steals for good measure. He also had the team’s best +/- at +25.
Carolina potentially found some depth today in Louisville, headlined by the best game of D'Marco Dunn’s career. Dunn was +18 at halftime and hit some big threes off the catch, encouraging signs— Tate Frazier (@tatefrazier) January 14, 2023
More important than any of his stat-padding though was the defense that he played on Louisville’s El Ellis, who was nearly the sole source of scoring for the Cardinals in the first half. Ellis was getting into the lane and getting to the free throw line, going 6-6 from the charity stripe and totaling 11 of Louisville’s 19 points midway through the first half.
Dunn took the Ellis assignment and kept him off the scoresheet for the rest of the half as Louisville only scored 7 more points in seven minutes, and let a 4-point lead turn into an 11-point deficit.
Dunn was the most efficient Tar Heel, shooting 5-7 from the field and 2-3 from downtown. He was a perfect 2-2 from the free throw line, and was feisty on the boards, including a tough offensive board and putback in the first half.
D'Marco Dunn scored a career-high 14 points against Louisville today! pic.twitter.com/nz4uDLtaug— Tar Heel Tapes (@TarHeelTapes) January 14, 2023
Let’s appreciate what D’Marco Dunn is by first explaining what he’s not. He is not a back-up point guard or a combo guard. He is a shooting guard. At 6’5”, he’s not the longest, but he defends and rebounds taller than he stands. If he continues to get minutes and hit 3-pointers from the wing after Armando Bacot has a touch or Caleb drives and dishes, Carolina could find themselves with a reliable back-up scorer.