For the first time since the day before Thanksgiving, the Tar Heels have a two-game win streak going after a 70-67 win on Monday night. It was a game that the Tar Heels controlled for most of the game after the under 16 timeout in the first half, but saw Yale nearly complete a comeback with some head-scratching mistakes. In the end, this was a solid resume win for the Tar Heels that could be helpful come tournament time.
The star of the show was senior guard Brandon Robinson, who led the way with a career-high 20 points. Although he didn’t have the most efficient night from the field (7-18), he hit five huge threes, including some crucial ones late that helped Carolina extend that lead that would eventually be whittled away by the Bulldogs late. He was able to provide a bit of the shooting touch that this Tar Heel team has been lacking for most of the season. It would be great to see Robinson build off of this performance to help the Tar Heels gain some sort of perimeter scoring threat, but that won’t be easy with the team now venturing into ACC play.
The Tar Heels will begin their ACC schedule on Saturday when they host Georgia Tech at home as part of a three game stretch of home matchups to open the ACC conference slate. The Tar Heels have a chance to get off to a great in ACC play over the next week, something that will be important for a team who’s schedule will only get tougher as the year progresses.
-The freshman duo of Jeremiah Francis and Anthony Harris were once again sparks for this struggling offense. The two combined for 16 points in 40 combined minutes on 5-14 from the field. While the numbers might not be awesome, Harris was a +10 while on the floor prior to injury and Francis finished +3 in his time on the floor and hit some key free throws down the stretch.
-The bench continued it’s improved play on Monday, dropping 22 of the teams 70 points in the game. That is a solid number that looks even better with the fact that Francis started the game.
-The big standout on the bench for the Tar Heels on Monday night was Justin Pierce. He was a force inside, scoring 14 points on 6-11 shooting and also corralled seven rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass. This was Pierce’s best performance since he exploded onto the scene in the game against UNC-Wilmington. With injuries continuing to add up, the staff needs Pierce to make these type of performances more common.
-Harris left the game during the second half with what appeared to be a non-contact injury to his left knee, the opposite knee from the one he suffered the injury in as a senior in high school. Harris would not return and there has been no update on his status since sustaining the injury.