On an afternoon where the Tar Heels just totally blew out the Syracuse Orange, anyone who set foot on the court has an argument to be player of the game. Armando Bacot managed a 16 point/11 rebound day in only 17 minutes of action, Harrison Ingram was all over the court and once again hit double digits in boards with 10, and players who started the game on the bench all had major contributions as Bacot dealt with foul trouble early in the first half.
Ultimately, though, there’s an easy choice for the player of the game: RJ Davis. He led the team in minutes played with 27, and racked up 22 points in just about every way you could think. He went 4-6 from three, 7-12 overall, and 4-4 from the charity stripe. Perhaps his biggest number though was five, the number of steals he had on the Orange. Not necessarily known for his defensive prowess, Davis was all over the court picking pockets and helped lead the Tar Heel defense into forcing 17 Orange turnovers.
Davis also was the Tac to this amazing tic-tac-toe basket to Armando Bacot that has been all too rare these last few seasons in Chapel Hill.
Earlier in the week, Davis was named to the Wooden Award Top 25 watch list, and this effort by Davis will just help solidify in voters’ minds he is deserving of their consideration. He continues his campaign for ACC Player of the year, is a strong candidate to make a top two All-American awards list — in short, he’s putting together a season that could see “Davis-4” up in the rafters.
His play as of late has affected how teams defend Carolina as a whole, and it’s no coincidence that Armando Bacot’s production has picked up as teams have to spend time keying in on where RJ is. It didn’t matter on Saturday, as Davis still found ways to get his points and take wide open three’s.
Fans are seeing a special season building for the guard. Here’s hoping he’ll keep it rolling as the conference season rolls on.