top of page

Heel Tough Blog: Battle 4 Atlantis- Arkansas Recap

Kevin Jairaj- USA Today Sports

The Tar Heels closed down their trip to the Bahamas on Friday with the consolation game of the Battle 4 Atlantis against the Arkansas Razorbacks. After trailing at halftime, they would respond with arguably their best second half of the season to pick up their first big win of the season and leave with a third-place finish.

The Tar Heels got off to their best start of the tournament, jumping out to a 23-11 at the ten-minute mark of the first half. There was a focus early to get downhill and finish at the basket or draw a foul, a recipe that has proved very successful for the team throughout the game. A block by Arkansas forward Baye Fall aided by more foul issues for the Tar Heels completely flipped things in the Razorbacks' favor in the final ten minutes of the half, allowing them to take a 38-35 lead into the half. The Tar Heels made just one field goal in the final 6:22 of the half after Armando Bacot exited the game with his second foul. The team struggled to stop the dribble drive again in the first half, something that has been an issue throughout the early part of the season. Just like yesterday, the team simply had no answers for an opposing player in the first half, this time forward Tramon Mark, who was a perfect 8-8 from the field for 20 points.

The team responded, though, with another fantastic second half to take the lead back and eventually run away with the victory. The two teams would exchange blows out of the gate to begin the half, but Carolina’s 11-2 run just before the under-12 TV timeout would give them a comfortable lead that they never relinquished. Sparking that run was guard R.J. Davis, who had his best performance of the season after struggling in the first two games of the tournament. Davis scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half to help the Tar Heels race away for the 87-72 victory.

Davis’ huge game was aided by strong days from fellow guard Seth Trimble and forward Harrison Ingram. Trimble, who played 25 minutes in the absence of Cormac Ryan, scored a career-high 12 points, eight of which came in the second half to help Carolina pull away. Ingram also had eight second half points, as he wrapped up an outstanding three days in Atlantis. He picked up his second double-double of the week in this one, scoring 13 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists. Those performances helped the Tar Heels survive another rough showing from Armando Bacot, who scored just 9 points on 3-9 shooting and pulled just four rebounds. It also helped them overcome the dominant performance from Mark, who scored 34 before unfortunately having to exit late on a stretcher after a hard fall.

This win was a huge one for the Tar Heels that gives them a nice confidence boost heading into the toughest part of their non-conference season. To do it without Ryan is even more, especially when you factor in another rough day from Bacot. This win showed that this group is different from last year and they will have a chance on Wednesday to show they can compete with the best in the country.


bottom of page