After spending last week on the road, North Carolina returned home on Tuesday night as they faced off against Boston College. While it wasn’t 100% smooth sailing, UNC came away as 72-64 winners, having never trailed in the game. With the schedule set to get difficult in the coming weeks, let’s take a look at what we can take way from the victory over the Eagles.
Putting games away remains a bit of a struggle
Other than at tipoff and a brief moment early in the game when the score was 8-8, UNC led this game from wire to wire. For most of the game, their lead hovered in the five to ten-point range. However, they also got some chances to extend the lead out to 15ish, but couldn’t take advantage and often soon found themselves right back only up five. The most notable BC run came after UNC went up nine with nine minutes left, only to go on a 4+ minute stretch without a field goal, as the lead got cut to one.
That unfortunately has been an issue at times. The Pitt loss is one big example. They couldn’t hang on against Virginia, even if that game does have some very notable caveats. Even against Louisville, you could argue they could’ve stomped out the Cardinals earlier than they did. That’s not to say they haven’t had games where they’ve put things away in timely manner, but they’re not quite able to do it consistently.
The Caleb Love roller coaster continues
As has been a theme a lot this season, Love put up a respectable number of points if you just glance at the box score, but a deeper dive shows it wasn’t exactly an efficient performance. Love scored 16 points, going 7-18 from the field and 2-10 from three, while also finishing with no assists.
On one hand, that’s another not great shooting night, on the other hand, many of the missed shots weren’t bad ones. Sure, there were some less than ideal ones, but most were okay shots that just didn’t fall. In that regard, he remains a frustrating player to watch in that sense.
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, the Eagles did cut UNC’s lead to one point with just over six minutes left. How did the Tar Heels answer back? Love scored the game’s next five points, and the game didn’t back with within a one possession score again. As frustrating as he can be, the best version of UNC probably still does need Love to be making plays.
The injury bug won’t leave
Last night saw the return of Pete Nance to the lineup after missing the Tar Heels’ last three games. He played 30 minutes, scoring six points, both on early threes that got Carolina off to a solid start.
However as he returned, there was yet another frontcourt player missing. Fresh of some solid, potential-filled performances, Jalen Washington missed Tuesday night’s game with some sort of ankle injury. Thankfully, that’s not the area of his body that wreaked havoc on him in 2021 and caused him to miss the first couple games of this season. His non-presence was noticeable, though. BC’s big rally attempt came with Armando Bacot off the floor, and Washington has seemed like the best one-for-one replacement for him. Hopefully at some point soon, we can see a UNC lineup that’s close to fully healthy.