Carolina overcame a sloppy first half, to improve to 3-0 with a 77-61 over the Runnin Bulldogs. The Heels only held a 30-27 halftime lead, after committing 9 first half turnovers, that kept the pesky instate foe in the game. Cole Anthony lead the way once again, scoring 28 points on 7-17 shooting. Anthony was effective from the foul line, converting on 11-13 foul shots. Along with Anthony, freshman Armando Bacot earned his first career double double, scoring 12 points while bringing down a team best 11 rebounds. For the game, Carolina shot 46% from the field, and outrebounded Gardner-Webb 44-23. Jose Perez kept his team in the game, scoring 12 points, on 5-12 shooting. Gardner-Webb wasn't afraid of the moment, as Evansville upsetting Kentucky earlier in the week, allowed the underdog to come in with confidence.
It wasn't pretty for the Tar Heels, but it's November and it's not supposed to be. Despite a sloppy start, Carolina did enough to allow Roy Williams to move past Jim Calhoun on the all time wins list. Here's what we learned in the win over Gardner-Webb
1. Improved Foul Shooting & Transition Offense: We've dissected at length the struggles Carolina has had at the foul line, and in the open floor. They responded after having a week off, connecting on 19-25 freebies, and scoring 23 points in transition. They entered the game only having scored a combined 22 points in the open floor. Execution in those areas allowed them to still control the game, despite struggling in the half court.
2. Half Court Offense Needs Work: This isn't too much of a surprise with how much Carolina is trying to replace, despite being without 4 scholarship athletes. The issue that game up Friday night, was that there wasn't a lot of movement, as guys were waiting for Cole Anthony to make a play. There needs to be more movement without the basketball, bigs need to be setting screens, and cutting hard to the basket,etc. That'll make life easier not only for Cole Anthony, but the other perimeter players.
3. Keeling & Platek Produce: Andrew Platek and Christian Keeling both scored 9 points each, which doesn't seem like a lot, but there production was needed. Cole Anthony battled foul issues during the game, and while the drop off was noticeable, Platek especially kept the team afloat. Keeling finally made some positive plays, that'll help him build confidence after struggling in his first two games. You'd like to seem them go better than a combined 2-8 from behind the three point line, but if they do the little things that matter the most, the scoring will find itself.
Up Next: Carolina remains at home, as they'll host Elon at home Wednesday night.
(Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com)