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Heel Tough Blog: College of Charleston Recap

Maggie Hobson -

In their first true road game with fans in almost two years, Carolina goes to Charleston and defeats the Cougars 94-83. Roy Williams was a big believer that playing these types of road non-conference games pays benefits come ACC, and tonight Hubert Davis learned that as well as the head man of Carolina Basketball. It wasn’t pretty to start as Carolina was rattled by the energy and emotion that persisted through the crowd, and onto the court, as the Cougars made seven 3 point baskets, racked up 14 transition points on their way to a 42-36 halftime lead. The big reason Carolina trailed at the half, were due to turnovers and missed free throws. The Tar Heels committed 11 first half turnovers, which were converted into 15 Cougars points. Carolina was also a pedestrian 6-11 from the charity stripe in the first half, which coupled with the turnovers had them staring at their second consecutive halftime deficit.

The second half was a lot like the start of the Loyola game, as the Tar Heels gave you a glimpse of the type of team they can be. Carolina scored 58 second half points, shot 64% from the field, including shooting 17-21 from the foul line. Defensively, UNC held Charleston 36% shooting in the second half, and even worse 29% from behind the arc. Following the Brown game, and the start of this game, it was nice to see this team respond on the defensive end of the floor, as they try to form an identity on that end of the floor.

One of the most impressive aspects of this team to start the season has been the balanced scoring, which continued once again tonight. Led by Armando Bacot and his career high 24 points on 10-12 shooting, the Tar Heels had 4 players in double figures scoring, as the team shot 54% from the field, making it every game they’ve shot 50% or better from the field.

Not many coaches believe you can learn a lot about your team winning a road game against a Group of 5 schools, but tonight proves otherwise. Carolina had to whether foul issues in the backcourt, turnovers, missed free throws, etc to earn their first road win under Hubert Davis. Here’s what to takeaway:

  1. Armando Bacot: For the second consecutive game, Bacot was the best player on the floor for Carolina and the opposition. Tonight Bacot kept Carolina in the game with 16 first-half points, on his way to a 24 point, 12 rebounds, 6 block performance. It was his second straight double-double, and the first time he’s scored 20 points or more in back-to-back games.

  2. Second Half Defense: Led by Leaky Black, Carolina’s defense was key in their second-half turnaround. They limited the Cougars to 36% for the half, and the game, and forced 9 turnovers, converting them into 10 points. UNC is still seeking identity on that end of the floor, but they can build off that performance as they head to Uncasville this weekend.

  3. Leaky Steps Up: Speaking of Leaky, he played a crucial role in tonight’s game. With Caleb Love and R.J. Davis struggling with foul issues in the first half, Leaky played significant minutes as the point guard, and did an adequate job running the offense, and keeping Carolina composed. Defensively, Black drew John Meeks, Charleston’s best player, and held him to 7 points on 2-14 shooting, including 0-4 from behind the three-point line.

  4. Kerwin Walton Break Out: Walton had failed to reach double figures scoring in the first two games, but that came to an end tonight, as Walton scored 14 points off the bench, shooting 5-8 from the field, 4-6 from distance in 28 minutes. His outing, paired with Caleb Love’s 22 points, carried the backcourt, as R.J. Davis struggled with just 6 points.

  5. Free Throws/Turnovers: A trend is starting that the Tar Heels are getting to the foul line at a high rate. After shooting 28 against Brown, Carolina shot 32 more tonight, including 21 in the second half, shooting 72% from the line. Considering Carolina scored 94 points and 59 field goal attempts, it’s safe to say their offense is playing efficiently to start the season. Turnovers were an issue in the first half, as Carolina turned it over 11 times, but they limited the mistakes to just 6 in the second half.

Up Next: UNC heads to Uncasville, to compete in the annual Hall of Fame Tip-Off classic, as they’ll take on Purdue. Saturday at 4 PM, on ESPN News.

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