The Tar Heels continued to make their 45-point output against Michigan State look like an outlier on Friday as they downed a pesky Davidson team. The usual suspects stacked the box score. Joel Berry reminded everyone why he was the 2017 Final Four MOP by recording 27 points behind 8-15 shooting. Luke Maye continued to prove he’s the real deal, adding 24 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Someone who perhaps didn’t receive enough spotlight, though, was Brandon Robinson.
Robinson came off the bench and provided a big scoring lift for UNC in the first half. After Roy Williams got onto him for taking an ill-advised three-pointer, Robinson took advantage of his length and quickness and started attacking the basket. His aggressiveness helped the Tar Heels keep up with Davidson’s efficient perimeter shooting, as he scored eight of the team’s first twenty-four points. Although he failed to score any after that, Robinson’s contributions went far beyond the box score.
Roy Williams has always stressed how important it is for his bench players to come in and have a positive impact on the team. “Don’t hurt us” is a phrase he often mutters. During the game against Michigan, Robinson turned the ball over on two straight possessions. Williams yanked him from the game and made it clear to him how unhappy he was. Robinson obviously got the message, because on Friday, he did exactly what Roy Williams wanted. He came in and did positive things for the Tar Heels.
Robinson epitomized the phrase, “spark plug.” His energy was off the charts as he consistently made plays on both sides of the floor in just 13 minutes of action. Early in the second half with his team up by only three, Robinson dove on the floor to save a ball from going out of bounds. During the same possession, after a missed three-pointer from Kenny Williams, he kept the ball alive once again with an offensive rebound that eventually resulted in two points for the Heels.
Roy Williams’ reaction from the sideline was much different this time around. He quickly applauded Robinson’s effort on the play, which ultimately led to Carolina pulling away for a 85-75 victory.
Needless to say, Robinson is taking advantage of the extra minutes to be had now that Cameron Johnson and Seventh Woods are both sidelined with injuries. After missing a couple games earlier in the season with an injury of his own, Robinson adds to what is already a wealth of depth for the Tar Heels’ backcourt. If he can keep playing with the same energy he did against Davidson, he could find his role somewhat unaffected when Woods and Johnson return to the court.