Carolina used an 18-0 run to start the game, and never looked back as they routed Florida State 94-74, to improve to 18-7, and 10-4 in the ACC. Carolina shot 74% in the first half, as they build a 62-24 halftime advantage. The 38 halftime point halftime margin was the largest since 2006, and the largest ever home halftime lead in ACC play. Caleb Love led the team with 18 points, as all of his made baskets were from behind the arc. Armando Bacot recorded another double-double, with 17 points and 14 rebounds. For the game, UNC shot 55% from the field, and they assisted on 22 of their 37 made baskets. Defensively, they held Florida State to 39% shooting, even though the Noles scored 50 points in the second half.
This was the type of get-right game Carolina needed, after beating Clemson on Tuesday, in a non-impressive fashion. This stretch run is important for the team to start playing their best basketball of the season, and they definitely looked the part. They made 9-12 three-point attempts in the first, as they shot 43% from behind the arc for the game. They will need to address the turnovers issues again, as they committed 16 of them today. On the flip side though, they forced 13 FSU miscues and converted those into 15 points. They out-rebounded Florida State 40-34, including bragging 13 offensive rebounds, which were turned into 21 points.
Carolina played so well in the first half, that the lights went off inside the Dean Dome, after a brief power outage. Today's win doesn’t help their NCAA Tournament chances by any means, but it does keep them on their current seed line, as they can improve their seeding with a strong finish down the stretch of ACC play. Today may have been a step in the right direction, for a team still looking to play their best, most consistent basketball of the season:
First Half Offense: The Tar Heels offense was functioning at a different level in the first half, as they scored 62 points, and shot over 74% from the field. Even after starting the game on an extended 24-1 spurt, they never took their foot off the gas. It was the first time since 2019, they shot better than 70% in a half against ACC competition. Love scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, as Carolina had 3 starters score double digits in the first stanza. Of their 36 possessions, UNC scored on 27 of them, averaging 1.7 points per game.
Defense: That first half, was the best defense we’ve seen from the team this season, as they only allowed 24 points, on 30% shooting. The Tar Heels forced 8 first-half turnovers as well that allowed them to build the lead. Their intensity lessened in the second half, which you could understand, as they built a 38 points halftime lead.
Rotation: With the margin as big as it was, it allowed Hubert Havis to play his bench extended minutes. Both Kerwin Walton and Dontrez Styles played 16 minutes off the bench, followed by Puff Johnson playing 11. In Styles's 11 minutes, he scored 8 points on 3-7 shooting.
Points in the Paint/Fast Break Points: The Tar Heels created easy points in the fast break, scoring 20 transition points, after forcing 13 turnovers. They also scored around the basket, outsourcing Florida State 46-30 in the painted area. This offense goes to a different level, when they are playing in the open court, and not only getting to the rim but finishing at the rim.
Up Next: UNC will be back at home on Wednesday night, as they will host Pittsburgh. The game is scheduled to start at 8 PM, on the ACC Network.