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UNC vs. Tennessee - Player of the Game: Elliot Cadeau

Cadeau’s 10 assists helped UNC get biscuits against one of the best defenses in the country.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Things got pretty shaky in the second half, but — at least offensively — that was one of the best games the North Carolina Tar Heels have played since about 2019-ish. In general, the performance was one that required and got good efforts from nearly everyone. Four players cracked double digit points. Eight players chipped in with at least one rebound. As a team, UNC scored 1.389 points per possession. Frankly, there are several options you could pick

However in picking a player of the game, the person I was most compelled to pick finished fairly low on the Tar Heels’ point leaderboard on Wednesday night.

Against one of — according to several metrics — one of the nation’s top defenses, Elliot Cadeau played a huge part in UNC cracked triple figures. He finished the game with 10 assists and no turnovers, chipping in with five points and two rebounds. His +10 plus/minus was also a team high as UNC beat Tennessee 100-92.

The Tar Heels’ offense was especially on fire in the first half, dropping 61 points in the first 20 minutes, which is more than the Volunteers’ have allowed in a couple entire games this season. Cadeau’s passing helped provide a decent chunk of that offense, as he dished out six assists, on route to UNC putting up 1.605 points per possession in the period.

They weren’t as dominant in the second half, but Cadeau added four more assists. One thing that’s been a big flaw so far in his freshman season has been his free throw shooting, and Tennessee targeted him a bit in that regard, as they tried to rally down the stretch. However in this game, Cadeau came up big in that regard, knocking down five free throws, four of which came in the last two minutes, keeping the Vols at bay.

While Cadeau dished out a number of the points tonight, there were several players who scored them who just as easily could’ve gotten this praise. RJ Davis led UNC with 27 points, including five three-points. He did a good chunk of that in the second half, and knocked down some crucial shots as Tennessee threatened a rally.

Armando Bacot did his double-double thing, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He was also very steady at the free throw line, going 10-13 to capitalize when he got chances. Meanwhile, Harrison Ingram scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds, and came up with three steals, and in general was a big time pest on the defensive end.

The second half got a little too jaw-clenching to make the game a complete and total universal positive, but there’s a ton of good things to take away from UNC’s win. One of those things is that Elliot Cadeau can really orchestrate a humming offense.