Well, it was not pretty. But the North Carolina Tar Heels finished strong for a 88-79 victory over Wake Forest. The early contender for Player of the Game was Leaky Black. The super senior kept UNC in the game during the first half with 14 points. Black’s three threes matched his total from behind the arc over the last seven games. Black cooled off in the second half, but his steal and slam in the waning moments gave him a career-high 18 points.
Coming out of the locker room down a point, the player that was critical to the Tar Heels’ victory was RJ Davis. In the first half, Davis surpassed 1,000 points in his UNC career. He is the 81st Tar Heels to score 1,000 points in a career — the most out of any collegiate program.
After scoring just seven points in the first half, Davis led all scorers with 27 points. He was efficient from the floor, shooting nine of 14, including five of eight from three. He returned to form by nailing all four of his free throw attempts.
On a night when Caleb Love was off, and there was much to be desired on the defensive end, Davis stepped up on both ends of the court. UNC and WF went back and forth throughout the second half. Seth Trimble’s layup at the 8:55 mark put Carolina up one.
On the next offensive possession, Davis’s feed to Armando Bacot for the transition slam at the 8:33 mark was the turning point. The dunk put Carolina up three and Wake took a timeout. It was not known yet, but the Tar Heels did not trail for the rest of the game.
After the break, the full-court press by UNC led to a Demon Deacons turnover. Davis’s three-pointer off that turnover put the Tar Heels up by six. Just 50 seconds later, Carolina went up two possessions and did not surrender that margin over the final seven minutes.
The Tar Heels bounced back after a disappointing loss, and the experienced guard was the difference-maker in a critical victory for Carolina.