Like there would be any doubt as to who we would name Player of the Game for this one.
You can argue that the last three of RJ Davis’ 36 points were unnecessary, as he took a shot from Robinsville with the Tar Heels up by 21, but shooters need to shoot. It was the perfect capper on the night for Davis as he shook off an 0-3 performance in the first half from behind the arc to go 4-5 in the second, and hit 8-12 overall. It sent the Tar Heels on the floor, bench, and stands into a frenzy as the ball swished in and he announced to the country that the Tar Heels are his team.
Prior to the final bomb launched, RJ had shown just how difficult he is to guard as he shook off his misses from the arc to drive toward the basket, forcing either contact or easy layups that Wake just had no answer for. He would go 6-8 from inside the arc, and was the main reason that Carolina was able to get out to an eight point lead in that half. Unfortunately Wake was able to halt the momentum, hitting some tough shots, and swing it to where they had a one point lead at the break.
The real key was early in the second half. The Tar Heels and Deacons had traded baskets to where the score was 41-41 with 16:47 left. Davis then would go on a personal 9-2 run, nailing two threes then getting an and-1 over the course of the next 1:39. The 41-41 tie was now a 50-43 lead, and the Tar Heels never really looked back from there.
After the game ESPN analyst Jay Williams — who had already made waves by saying that if he had to enter the transfer portal today and leave Duke, he’d go to UNC — spent time positively singing the praises of Davis, calling him “the best guard in the country.” He said that again at halftime of the next game, and that sort of praise is the sort of stuff that national writers and ACC Player of the Year Voters pay attention to. Teams are now seriously going to have to think about how much attention they give Armando Bacot with the ability RJ Davis has to carve them up, and they should have been already.
Elsewhere on the court, Harrison Ingram secured yet another double-double with 10 points and 14 boards, and Elliot Cadeau continued his improved play by showing RJ that the driving lane was open for him, on his way to 14 points, one off his season high of 15 he scored against UNI.
The game, though, was all in the hands of RJ Davis. He’s putting together a special season, and it’s been fun to watch every second of it.