Updated: Sep 6, 2020
0-17. That's what Carolina shot in a 11 minute stretch in the second half, on their way to 65-59 road loss to Florida State. The loss is Carolina's second straight, and at 10-12 ( 3-8 ) a season that's been defined by injuries seems unsalvageable. Cole Anthony led the team in scoring with 22 points, but was only 5-22 from the field. There were simply too many times that Anthony decided to play one on one basketball, and simply didn't make the plays necessary to help his team win. Leaky Black was the only other starter to score double figures, as he contributed with 10 points on 4-10 from the field. Black has clearly struggled adjusting with the return of Anthony, and with Anthony needing to dominate the basketball to score, it's hard to see Black improving the rest of the season. Christian Keeling had arguably his best game of the season, providing 14 points off the bench, on a efficient 5-10 shooting. Keeling was the only player that attempted more than 5 field goals, to shoot 50% or better. For the game UNC shot just 31%, as their shooting woes were on full display once again. More frustrating than the inability to shoot, Florida State outrebounded the Tar Heels, 43-37 and limited their second chance offense.
There was a sequence late in the first half with Carolina up 28-21, were Jeremiah Francis had a open look in the corner for 3. Francis missed the triple, and before you knew it, Florida State led 29-28 at halftime. Carolina competed, but we're not here to reward moral victories, this is about getting results, which Carolina simply isn't getting. 3 takeaways from another frustrating loss:
1. Stagnant Offense: In the two wins over Miami and NC State, the offense looked like the Carolina offense we've grown accustom to seeing under Roy Williams. Players were moving without the basketball, setting quality screens, making cuts to the basket, etc. Since Cole Anthony returned on Saturday, all that has disappeared. It's not all Anthony's fault, his teammates are just waiting for him to bail them out. While he's talented enough to do that, you're asking way too much from a freshman that missed over 6 weeks. There needs to be more action in the pre-set offense, as well as once they settle in a offensive set.
2. Inability to Convert Off Turnovers: Florida State committed 16 turnovers in their home building. The problem as that Carolina couldn't capitalize on those turnovers enough, to make a difference in the score column. Points off turnovers is a great way to generate easy offense, and confidence, both of which this team desperately needs. This inability to continues to hinder this team from taking that next step, as the season only gets closer to ending, with the schedule heating up.
3. Battle of the Boards: It's not common to see Carolina get outrebounded, but if there's a team that can't afford to lose the rebounding margin, this team is it. The 43-37 rebounding margin isn't surprising when you look at the size and depth of Florida State, but in past years' the Tar Heels had no problem rebounding with the Seminoles. They brought down 14 offensive rebounds, ( their ACC best average ), but simply didn't score enough on the second chance opportunities. It also seemed that every time Florida State needed to get a rebound, they got it which their level of toughness as well. Both Brooks and Bacot battled foul trouble in the second half, and outside of Cole Anthony, nobody was tough enough to step up and help the team.
Up Next: Carolina returns to the Smith Center on Saturday, as they'll host Duke in the latest chapter in the greatest rivalry in sports.