Updated: Jan 5, 2020
Carolina overcame a halftime deficit, to improve to 4-0, with a 75-61 win over Elon. The Phoenix led at halftime despite missing 14 of its 16 shots. Carolina kept the pressure up on the defensive end in the second half, as a 17-2 run gave the Tar Heels control of the game. Cole Anthony wasn't his usual self only scoring 9 points, but grabbed 10 rebounds, and handed out 8 assists. With Anthony having a off night, somebody had to pick up the slack and that guy was Armando Bacot. Armando had a second consecutive double double, scoring 22 points while hauling in 14 rebounds. Roy Williams challenged the freshman big man game after the Gardner-Webb game, and he responded in a big way. Garrison Brooks added 14 points, as he was the only other Tar Heel to reach double figures in scoring. For the game UNC shot 43% while holding Elon to just 32%. More importantly Carolina dominated the glass, out rebounding the visitors 56-25.
This clearly wasn't Carolina's best effort, and Roy Williams was frustrated with his team early calling a early timeout, and having his head in his hands early in the first half. Despite all the negatives, there were some positives that came out of the win over Elon. Here's what we learned:
1. Armando Is Capable of Carrying the Load: Even though it was Elon, Armando displayed the ability to carry the load inside. It's been since the 2017 national championship season, that Carolina could consistently put the ball inside and get points. Roy Williams was adamant in the off season about getting back to their roots, and playing a more traditional style of basketball. That's only possible of you have guys on the interior that can produce night in, night out. Bacot showed signs of being that kind of player last Friday, yet his head coach was frustrated with his turnovers. He responded with a more aggressive and conserted effort on both ends, in a game that do wonders for his confidence, Also if Bacot can produce on a nightly basis, it'll take some pressure off of his freshman running mate Cole Anthony.
2. Slow Starts Are a Trend: This is the third consecutive game you could make the argument the team wasn't ready yo go when the ball was thrown in the air to begin the game. It was so bad tonight, Roy Williams called one of his precious timeouts to bark at his club. This can be disturbing if this lasts, especially next week in the Bahamas, where a slow start might too much to overcome. You hear the coaching staff mention "have a sense of urgency" throughout the season, that needs to start when the game begins, as Carolina just simply isn't good enough to play a full 40 minutes.
3. Lack of Finishing at the Rim: Carolina was only 9-18 on layup attempts in the game. Against a opponent like Elon, you'd expect to see the be more efficient around the basket. This is a area the team needs to improve as the season moves along, because they won't get away with leaving points off the board starting next week. It comes down to being tough enough to make plays when they matter most, this group will have to learn as they go to do just that.
Up Next: Carolina has a week off before playing its next game, as the team will travel to Paradise Island to compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis Thanksgiving week. The Heels matchup with Alabama next Wednesday, with a 2:30 pm tip time on ESPN.
(Photo courtesy of Ben McKeown)
Roy's Boys Podcast: Elon Recap
<a class="spreaker-player" href="https://www.spreaker.com/episode/20157545" data-resource="episode_id=20157545" data-width="100%" data-height="200px" data-theme="light" data-playlist="false" data-playlist-continuous="false" data-autoplay="false" data-live-autoplay="false" data-chapters-image="true" data-episode-image-position="right" data-hide-logo="false" data-hide-likes="false" data-hide-comments="false" data-hide-sharing="false" data-hide-download="true">Listen to "Ep. 82: Elon Recap" on Spreaker.</a><script async src="https://widget.spreaker.com/widgets.js"></script>