UNC fought back from a six-point halftime deficit with a strong second half push to pick up their first ACC win of the season in their 78-70 victory over Florida State on Saturday. Things were pretty sticky for the Tar Heels in the first half, especially compared to their elite first half performance against Tennessee earlier this week, but some adjustments down the stretch were exactly what the doctor ordered.
Carolina closed the game on a 34-11 run to turn their 14-point deficit into a 14-point lead at one point. Florida State did have a final surge with a 9-1 run that made things more interesting than anyone really needed it to be, but the Tar Heels were able to close things out strong and secure the win.
The offense did not come as ease for the Heels as it has in some of their games this season. They struggled to do much of anything offensively in the first half, and the Seminoles were lighting it up from long distance. It was a bad combination. UNC shot just 18% from three (2-11) before halftime while FSU made seven of their 14 attempts.
RJ Davis was excellent for Carolina, scoring 27 to lead everyone. He made three three-pointers and nailed eight important free throws. Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram joined him in double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively. UNC was a little more turnover-prone than you’d like with 13, but they also managed to make the most of their opportunities off Florida State’s 12 turnovers to score 18 points to limit the damage from their own giveaways.
For the first time in several games, UNC finally kept one player on the opposing team from nearly beating them themselves. The Seminoles did have four players in double figures, but no one scored more than 17 points. That was especially important after the Tar Heels dug themselves into a double-digit hole and needed to find a way to get stops and make shots.
It’s been said a number of times already this season, but it’s notable how different the general vibes are of this team. Being able to make adjustments and not panic when the ball isn’t going in the basket is absolutely essential, and we saw that on display today. It is very different from the repeating story we saw on multiple occasions last year.
UNC travels to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to take on reigning champions UConn.