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Heel Tough Blog: Georgia Tech Recap

The San Diego Union-Tribune

After a four game losing streak, the Tar Heels got back to their winning ways with a 75-59 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC opener. Carolina was powered by the double-doubles of R.J. Davis (22 points and 10 rebounds) and Armando Bacot (21 points and 13 rebounds) to get their first win since the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Tar Heels shot 47% from the field, but more importantly, behind the double digit rebounding efforts of Davis and Bacot, UNC won the rebounding battle 43-22. Carolina’s defense was the best it’s been maybe all season long, holding the Yellow Jackets to 41% shooting from the field, and just 35% from behind the arc. 

Carolina used a 11-0 run to close the first half, and build a 39-26 lead. Hubert Davis said in his postgame press conference that those final three minutes of the first half, was the first time he saw his team play a brand of basketball we’ve come accustomed to over the years in Chapel Hill. The most interesting part about the run, was that it was sparked by the defensive play of Seth Trimble, that allowed UNC to get some easy baskets in the open floor. 

In the second half, Georgia Tech would get as close as nine, but Carolina just steadily controlled the game, and didn’t get flustered by multiple defensive looks. With Love adding 10, there were times that the backcourt duo of Davis and the aforementioned Love, that the backcourt looked like the best in the country. 

This time last year, there were questions around the Tar Heels, and a blowout win over Georgia Tech helped ease the concerns at that moment. Fast forward a year, and Carolina was once again playing Tech in December with questions once again around the team. While today may not have been as dominant as a blowout as it was last season, there’s no denying that everyone feels better after today’s win. 

  1. Historic Game for Bacot: Armando returned to the lineup, and promptly recorded another double double. But this one was a little special, as it was his 61st double double of his career, tying him with Billy Cunningham for the most in UNC history. For those of you not familiar with the name, Cunningham was nicknamed the “Kangaroo Kid” and was an integral part of Dean Smith building what we now know as the best program in college basketball. 

  2. Assists: Carolina made 27 baskets, and 15 of them were assisted on, and that’s the main reason why the offense looked so much better in the half court. In the closing stretch of the first half, every basket was asssited on, setting the tone that good ball movement would lead to quality looks at the rim. 

  3. Rebounding: After getting out-rebounded in 5 of the first 9 games, Carolina never let Georgia Tech establish a presence on the backboard, winning that category 43-22. Further proof of that, is that Tech only had 1 offensive rebound for the entire game. 

  4. Free Throw Shooting: A common theme when Hubert Davis was a player at UNC, was Carolina making more foul shots than the opponent attempted. That’s what happened today, as the Tar Heels were 18-24 from the charity stripe, and Georgia Tech was 6-8. 

  5. Jalen Washington Makes UNC Debut: The Tar Heel freshman saw his first ever action for Carolina, as he entered the game in the final two minutes. The Tar Heels would clear the floor for him, and he would hit a turnaround jump shot, for his first points at UNC. His recovery from a serious knee injury, adds depth to the Tar Heel front court, which gives Hubert Davis more lineup flexibility. 

Up Next: Carolina returns to non-conference action as they host The Citadel on Tuesday at 7 PM. The game will air on the ACC Network. 


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