Heel Tough Blog: Anthony’s Analysis- Heels Lay it All on the Line; Still Fall to Virginia Tech 79-77

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Michael Thomas Shroyer- USA Today Sports

One of the biggest issues for this Tar Heels basketball during the five game losing streak that the Tar Heels enter Wednesday night’s game with was the lack of effort. Effort was far from the problem against the Hokies, though, as the Tar Heels left it all on the floor in a second heartbreaking overtime loss in their last three games.

The prime example of that was junior forward Garrison Brooks, who 28 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in 48 minutes of action, coming off the floor for just one two minute stretch in the game. He was a dominant force inside in the first half, helping give the Tar Heels a 36-30 halftime lead. Unfortunately, the Hokies were able to take away the post in the second half with help from the fact that the Tar Heels back off the focus of getting the ball inside. Still, Brooks laid it all on the line once again, finishing the game with his sixth straight double-double.

Brooks effort combined with three other Tar Heels who played over 45 minutes on Wednesday night. Justin Pierce still had some moments where he struggled handling the basketball, but probably played his best game of the season, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Andrew Platek, who was on the floor for all but one minute, scored seven points and had five rebounds, while also putting for a much better effort defensively than in the prior game against Pittsburgh. The same was true for Leaky Black, who had his best defensive performance in a while in 47 minutes of action.

This team laid everything they had on the line in a game that many chalked up as a loss and just couldn’t find a way to get it done. You can’t really ask for much more from a team that is frankly just beat to hell and lacking the talent they’ve had in previous years.

-Just nine scholarship players dressed in the game on Wednesday, with a total of just seven players seeing the floor. This is easily one of the small rotations in recent memory and is a shining example of just how banged up this Tar Heel team is.

-The Tar Heels finished the night 14-20 from the free throw line, but missed some key shots from the line late in regulation that may have given them the chance to ice the game in regulation. Five of the six missed free throws came in the second half, including a 4-9 to close the regulation.

-The loss drops the Tar Heels to 1-6 in the ACC, giving them sole possession of last place in the conference. This six-game ACC slide is the first time that the team has lost six straight ACC games in a row in program history.

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