- Luke Maye Will Be Just Fine
Following the Virginia loss, a lot was made of the fact that Luke Maye was struggling under the weight of being the primary focus of opposing defenses. His last five games had produced less than brilliant results and had contributed to three Carolina losses.
Well, that ended last night. On UNC's very first possession, they spread out and isolated Luke in the paint, allowing him to go to work. He was whistled for a travel on that particular play, but Carolina's intention was clear: Get Luke Going. From that point on, everything went just fine and dandy for the junior from Cornelius.
Maye finished with 32 and 18, both career highs, and did damage from everywhere on the floor, hitting 4-5 from three, crashing the offensive glass, putting the ball on the deck and attacking, and hitting midrange jumpers both catch-and-shoot and off the bounce. It must have felt real good for him to get on a roll like that after the last three weeks. Look for Roy Williams to start off games in similar fashion as the season goes on.
2. Small Ball Starters!
With the continued struggles of UNC's freshman bigs and several sluggish starts resulting in losses, many had been wondering (and many hoping) if Roy would change things up and try a smaller starting lineup against BC. They got their wish Tuesday night. UNC started off with a lineup of Berry, Williams, Johnson, Pinson, and Maye, Johnson replacing Garrison Brooks in the lineup and make shifting over to the five.
If one night is any indicator, this lineup may be the norm for the rest of the season. As mentioned before, the Tar Heels established Maye right from the get-go, but they all got some great play from Johnson, who had his best game of the season by far, both offensively and defensively. Cam finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists with no turnovers committed. He also looked more mobile defensively against the Boston College wings. If Johnson can continue to produce like that, the Heels will be dangerous going forward.
But let's not read the epitaph for UNC's traditional lineup just yet. Despite the new starting lineup, Sterling Manley and Garrison Brooks still combined for 27 minutes of play, and only a couple of those minutes came at the same time. Carolina had the luxury of facing a guard-centric team in BC that would not be able to punish smaller Tar Heel starters. This experiment may have merely been the result of an opportunistic matchup. The coming weeks will tell.
3. Now THAT'S The Way To...wait for it...REBOUND!
Small ball starters or not, the Heels turned in a tremendous performance on the glass Tuesday night. Carolina outrebounded the Golden Eagles 58-23, an incredible margin against a quality conference foe. 23 of those rebounds were offensive. Yep, Carolina had as many offensive rebounds as BC had rebounds period.
The bulk of the damage was done by Maye (18) and Johnson (11), but Theo Pinson had 8 rebounds of his own. This means that the front court of UNC's small ball lineup combined for 37 rebounds on the night. Carolina also enjoyed a 48-18 advantage in points in the paint. This has to be tremendously encouraging for Roy Williams, who tried a new tactic and still saw a dominant performance in a part of the game usually dominated by bigs.