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UNC’s big second half gives them win over Northern Iowa in Battle 4 Atlantis

Night and day.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Northern Iowa at North Carolina Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A wise man once said everything looks better when the ball goes in the basket, and that was certainly the thesis statement of UNC’s 91-69 Battle 4 Atlantis win over Northern Iowa on Wednesday. The Tar Heels were ice cold and sloppy in the first half before coming out and shooting the lights out in the second half.

Foul trouble limited Armando Bacot’s minutes in the first half, and his presence was definitely missed. Carolina made just three of their 13 attempts from three in the first 20 minutes and shot just 33% from the field. To contrast that, the Panthers shot 60% in the first half and got out to a 41-35 lead at halftime. UNC’s 13 points of UNI turnovers were really keeping them in the game.

Things could not have been more different from the start of the second half. The Tar Heels came out on fire with a 16-1 start that they ultimately pushed to 34-6 before UNI dusted themselves off enough to keep it competitive. Carolina out-scored them by 28 in the second half with their 56 points and flirting with a UNC record for three-pointers in a half. They made nine, the record was 11.

Cormac Ryan and Harrison Ingram were excellent from deep in the second half, each making three. RJ Davis, who had a brutal first half, managed to make two himself. Six players finished the game in double figures for Hubert Davis with Ingram’s 16 leading the way. Ryan and Elliot Cadeau were right behind him with 15 each.

The Heels scored 25 points off UNI turnovers and scored 37 points off the bench. The bench continues to be more of a factor than we’ve seen the last couple seasons, and it will be especially important when playing in a tournament like this one.

Such a stark difference in how each team played the first half vs the second is going to be interesting when discussing the rims and sight lines in the ballroom in Nassau. Was it some coincidence that both teams struggled when shooting on the rim to the left, or is it a factor they’ll need to overcome for the rest of the week? It’ll be interesting to see in the Texas Tech/Villanova game coming up if there are similar issues.

Carolina awaits the winner of that game in their Thanksgiving game tomorrow afternoon.