Heel Tough Blog: Boston College Recap
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins ever, but behind another double-double from Armando Bacot, combined with timely scoring from both Caleb Love and R.J. Davis in the second half, Carolina got past a pesky Boston College squad 72-64, to improve to 13-6 on the season, and 5-3 in the ACC. Carolina led 31-26 at the halftime break, as both teams shot under 40% in an ugly first 20 minutes. In the second half, it appeared that Carolina was going to run away with the game, after building a double-digit lead, but Boston College, led by Quinten Post and Jaeden Zackery refused to go away and cut the margin to 56-55 with under six minutes left in the game. Carolina would respond with a 7-0 run, with all the scoring coming from Love and Davis, to push the lead out to 63-55, and that was too much for the Eagles to overcome, and Carolina escaped with a win, in a game that they had no business losing.
Despite winning the game, UNC was actually out-shot by the opponent, as Carolina shot just 43% from the field, meanwhile, Boston College shot an efficient 48%. The biggest difference in the outcome? Perimeter shooting. Carolina was 10-29 from behind the arc, which is only 34%, but Boston College, which entered shooting just 28% as a team, went 0-6 from deep. This marked the first time that Carolina didn’t allow a made three-pointer, since defeating Jacksonville back in 1990, when current head coach, Hubert Davis was a player for Coach Smith. Also, behind Bacot’s 16 rebounds, Carolina won the battle of the boards, 37-27 as they controlled the pace of the game on both ends of the floor. Missed free throws also allowed the game to hang in the balance, as Carolina was only 10-17 from the charity stripe, and at one point, they were 3-9.
A win tonight wasn’t going to change anyone’s opinion about the Tar Heels or impact their current NCAA Tournament projections, but a loss would’ve been devastating on so many levels, and when it came time to make winning plays, they did that, and in the process improved to 9-0 at home in the Smith Center.
History for Bacot: Tonight’s double-double tied Armando Bacot with Bill Cunningham for the most in UNC history, with 60. Also in the process, Bacot got closer to surpassing Tyler Hansbrough on the all-time rebounding list at Carolina, as his rebounding prowess will be a big part of Bacot’s legacy in Chapel Hill. To tie the record in a game where he totaled 20 points and 16 rebounds has to feel special for him, as he recorded his fourth, 20 points, 15+ rebound game of the season.
Timely Buckets From Love & Davis: R.J. Davis continues to score the ball in a more efficient manner, as tonight he scored 18 points, on 6-13 shooting, including 4-7 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Love scored 16 points, on 7-18 shooting, although his perimeter woes continue, as he was 2-10 from deep. It felt like every time Carolina needed a bucket, they got it in the form of either Love or Davis, and that’s important as the ACC schedule heats up, they are going to need more from these two.
Perimeter Defense: Even though Boston College entered as a poor perimeter shooting team, for Carolina to not allow a made triple for the first time in 1,120 games, does speak volumes about this team in that area. While Hubert Davis hasn’t made any major adjustments to the way Carolina defends the perimeter, their numbers have improved under his watch.
Rotation: Pete Nance returned to action tonight, and Hubert Davis started him, even though many believe that Carolina is better without Nance on the floor. Nance played the fewest minutes of any starter (30), but his return limited the minutes of others as Puff Johnson only played 11 minutes, and Seth Trimble played just 3. D’Marco Dunn saw 15 minutes, but Dontrez Styles failed to play at all. With almost five days until the next game, you have to wonder if Davis considers moving Nance to the bench, as he’s still trying to find the right mix of guys to roll with on a consistent basis.
Second Chance Points: Another reason UNC was able to overcome a poor shooting night, was the fact that they dominated the offensive glass (14-5), which led to 19 second chance points.
Up Next: Carolina will remain at home on Saturday, when they host NC State, in a game that will have as much meaning in some time between the old Big Four rivals.