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Heel Tough Blog: Georgia Tech Recap

CBS 17

Following Wednesday’s win over Michigan, the question was how Carolina would handle that success, and if that effort would carry over into today’s ACC opener at Georgia Tech. After the first half of runs, that had the teams even 31-31 at the break, Carolina used a 22-4 run in the second half to break open the game, ultimately winning 79-62, earning Hubert Davis his first ACC win. Carolina also secured their 56th victory in ACC openers, which are the most in the ACC. The Tar Heels shot a blistering 56% for the game, including a season-best 59% from behind the three-point. R.J. Davis led the team with 23 points, on 8-11 shooting, including going 4-6 on shots from behind the arc. Carolina had four different players score at least 15 points, as Hubert Davis’ offense is functioning at a high level right now. Defensively, Carolina was impressive once again, holding the Yellow Jackets to 46% shooting, and only 6-16 from bonus territory. Senior guard, Michael Devoe entered the contest averaging 25.0 points per game, which lead the country but was limited to 15 points, while converting just 1-5 three-pointers. Furthermore, UNC dominated the boards, 33-21, and forced 13 Tech turnovers, and converted them into 21 points, as the team is transforming into a complete one.

Wednesday Caleb Love was able to take over the game against Michigan, tonight it was R.J. Davis who was the catalyst for Carolina. Hubert Davis was excited entering the season about playing two-point guards like UNC did with Marcus Paige and Joel Berry back in the 2015-16 run to the national championship game. This week, we’ve seen that vision come to fruition, as Carolina has picked up back to back quality wins, as they enter a week filled with final exams.

Today’s win over Georgia Tech was historic, as Carolina became just the third program to amass 2,300 all-time victories, joining blue blood Kentucky and Kansas as the others to achieve the feat. Here’s what to take away from today’s win:

  1. Defense: The struggles that the team experienced in Uncasville feel like a distant memory, as they’ve taken major strides since then. Today they were challenged with stopping Michael Devoe who entered the game, leading the country in scoring, and among the better perimeter shooters in college basketball. UNC limited him to just 15 points and 1-5 from the perimeter. Carolina also forced 13 more turnovers, converted them into 21 points. On the Tar Heel Sports Network, Hubert Davis applauded the effort of Anthony Harris, who didn’t play on Wednesday, he only played 14 minutes, but his energy impacted the game in a positive way.

  2. Game of Runs: UNC jumped out to a 12-4 start, before a 17-1 spurt by the Jackets had them not only back in the game, but held a sizeable lead. Hubert Davis would eventually use a timeout after a bad turnover that led to a dunk, and UNC responded by getting the game entering the half. In the final 20 minutes, Carolina used a 22-4 run, to take control of the game, and eventually put the game away. Carolina has proven to withstand runs made by the opponent, and the ability to put an opponent away like they have against Michigan and Georgia Tech consecutively.

  3. R.J. Davis: Wednesday night we were gushing about Caleb Love, today we get to praise Davis, who led the team with 23 points, poured in 4 triples, grabbed 5 rebounds, and handed out 5 assists. This was the first time we saw Davis exclusively run the offense, and with positive results, there might be more times we see that.

  4. Armando Bacot & Brady Manek: With the attention given to Love and Davis as of late, Armando Bacot has posted back-to-back double-doubles, including 15 points, and 13 rebounds. Specifically, in the last couple of games, Hubert Davis has recognized at times that Carolina’s best offense has been to play through Bacot, and he has responded with either made baskets or passes out of double teams for open perimeter shots. As for Brady Manek, He added 15 points off the bench, knocked in a few three-pointers, and is proving to be a consistent contributor off the bench for the Tar Heels. As the most experienced player on the roster, he’s also added leadership to the team, which has been beneficial as well.

  5. Assists: Of Carolina’s 31 baskets, 21 of them were assisted on. 7 different Tar Heels contributed in the assist column, highlighted by Caleb Love and R.J. Davis each with 5.

  6. Free Throws: Back to back games, Carolina hasn’t attempted double digits from the foul line, but they made the most of them tonight, going 7-8 from the charity stripe. The bigger takeaway is while Carolina isn’t getting to the foul line, they aren’t putting the opponent there either, as Georgia Tech attempted only 7, making 6 of them.

Up Next: Carolina is off until Saturday when they host Elon in the Smith Center at 8 PM on ACC Network.

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