The season is underway. North Carolina players and fans alike, are happy to have Tar Heel basketball back. As mentioned in our game preview, we expected to see different lineup combinations and stretches of sloppy play, but ultimately, the Tar Heels to prevail, and they did.
For Tar Heel fans, there are a lot of positives; contrary to last year, Garrison Brooks had help carrying the offensive load, there was balanced scoring, the Roy Williams inside-out attack was back, the freshman got minutes to contribute and get acclimated, and no notable injuries-Caleb Love took a hard fall after biting on a pump fake but was able to continue playing. RJ Davis exited with minor cramps and also returned to finish the game.
The game was largely decided by two significant Tar Heel scoring runs; 16-2 to start the game and 17-0 at the 14:28 mark of the second half. The 17-0 run was an answer to an 11-3 run by the Cougars to start the second half, a run that allowed them to grab a one point lead.
*Day’Ron Sharpe was as advertised. Sharpe was efficient on offense, played good defense, and was relentless on the boards.
*Balanced scoring-10 Tar Heels scored in the game, including four (Love, Sharpe, Bacot, and Davis) in double figures
*Caleb Love and RJ Davis-we saw flashes of play supporting why both are so highly touted. We know they can score, but the effort they gave on the defensive end needs to be noted.
*Nine team turnovers. Taking care of the ball is important, especially with an inexperienced backcourt.
The not so positives:
*There were stretches of sloppy play-this was to be expected. The hope is for this team to continue gaining experience, players to learn their roles, and develop some lineup continuity.
*Leaky Black-Leaky shot 2/8 with four points, two rebounds, and one assist. Leaky is capable of being more involved. We need to start seeing it, for the sake of his confidence.
*Three point shooting-the Tar Heels shot just 4/18 from deep.
Leading scorers-Love 17, Sharpe 13, Bacot 12
Leading rebounders-Brooks 11, Sharpe 10, Bacot 8
Next up for the Tar Heels-Monday, Nov 30 vs UNLV in the opening round of the Maui Invitational