At the 9:51 mark of the first half, Caleb Love hit his first three of the game. After his release, Love knew it was good. He turned back to the defensive side of the court before the ball went through the net and did so with both a sense of relief and hubris.
Love was no Icarus on Saturday afternoon. On the ensuing drive, he hit another three. In a must-win against a team tied for the ACC lead, Love tied his career high for three-pointers. Love silenced critics after a drama-filled week and finished as the leading scorer on the court.
The North Carolina Tar Heels desperately needed a victory in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
And Love’s six consecutive points put Carolina ahead for good.
Another shining point of Love’s game was his game-high five assists. The Tar Heels continue to be criticized over their playmaking deficiency. Love was able to spread the ball around while still hitting his outside shot.
There is probably more to be desired with Love driving to the basket, but he was still able to knock in three of four free throw attempts.
Overall, UNC turned around their abysmal shooting from long range by shooting over 45 percent from beyond the arc. Love shot over 66 percent from three, hitting six of nine attempts.
In a close second, Armando Bacot had another double-double and was simply a beast in the paint. There is a notable difference when this team works inside-out, and Bacot can have second-chance opportunities.