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UNC vs. Florida State - Player of the Game: Leaky Black

UNC avoided a bad loss thanks to some important plays courtesy of Leaky Black.

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

This North Carolina Tar Heels team can’t help but play close games, and that continued on Monday night in Tallahassee. Despite leading by as many as 18 points, Florida State got within four points in the closing minutes, as UNC went through a dry stretch on the offensive end.

A major reason why they were eventually able to finish things off — and why they had a sizeable lead to begin with — was the play of Leaky Black.

On Monday night, Black finished with 18 points on 6-8 shooting, knocking down three three-pointers in Carolina’s 77-66 win. He also finished just shy of a double-double after grabbing nine rebounds. Beyond that, he dished out three assists, and had a block.

Two of Black’s threes came in a big first half as the Tar Heels jumped out to a 43-25 lead going into the break. In general, were doing a decent job at finding open shots in the opening 20 minutes, finishing with nine assists on 13 made field goals. When the ball came to Black, he did a good job at knocking down his open looks.

However, more of his points and rebounds came in the second half, and a couple of them helped UNC withstand FSU’s run. He scored seven points over the game’s final six minutes, and the last two were the most emphatic.

That dunk put Carolina up six, and the game was never that close again. Prior to that, he also came down with an important rebound after Florida State had missed a free throw that would’ve gotten them within three points.

All game long, Black made plays that helped UNC to an extremely necessary win.

In the first half, it seemed like player of the game might be headed to Caleb Love. In the opening 20 minutes, Love scored 14 points, knocking down three threes, while also putting up two assists and two rebounds. He arguably could’ve had a couple more assists, but instead ended up with a couple turnovers, which were UNC’s main issue on the game. Love cooled off a bit in the second half, and only finished with 16 points. RJ Davis led the Heels with 19 points, while Pete Nance had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

UNC are playing with absolutely no margin for error over the final couple games of the season. A loss to Florida State may well have ended the Tar Heels’ NCAA Tournament at-large berth hopes entirely. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that thanks to an important performance from Leaky Black.