Everything looks better when the ball goes in the basket, and that’s the feeling after an Andrew Platek floater lifted Carolina 67-65 past scrappy Miami. The Hurricanes were once again without Chris Lykes, but pushed Carolina to the limit, and outplayed the Tar Heels for the majority of the game. Carolina committed 20 turnovers, and shot just 35% from the field, which makes you wonder how they won the game. They were able to offset a bad shooting performance, by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, which turned into 12 second chance points. They also forced 14 Hurricane turnovers, which they converted into 17 points as well.
Carolina’s offense is still a work in progress, which is why they had to win the game on the defensive end. They did so, holding Miami to 1-10 to finish the game. This is the second consecutive game they’ve won the game on the defensive end of the floor. Add in a relative effective night shooting the 3 ball, going 9-20, Carolina is finding different ways to win, which should pay off in the long run. Carolina put 3 players in double figures scoring led by Leaky Black who had a team best 16 points, making a career best 4 three pointers. He also grabbed 9 rebounds, as since his benching, he’s turned his level of play up a notch. Day’Ron Sharpe added 12 points, and 16 rebounds as he was too much for the smaller Hurricanes on the inside. Kerwin Walton continued his impressive play, scoring 13 points on 4-8 shooting, including 3-7 from behind the arc.
It wasn’t as easy as it could’ve been, but for the Tar Heels it’s not about how you win, as long as you win. It won’t be a fun film session when they review the film, but make no mistake this win is important for this team as they’ve climbed to .500 in the ACC
Leaky Black: After being benched at Georgia Tech, he’s been a different player for Carolina. He followed up his Notre Dame heroics with his best offensive output of his Tar Heel career. If he can continue to be a force on the offensive end it’ll do wonders for this team. While you love his scoring, you also have to love his 9 rebounds, and his 3 assists, as he has no choice but to help facilitate the offense.
Turnovers: We’ve accepted that this team is going to turn the ball over, but it wasn’t encouraging seeing them commit 20 turnovers, after a season low 8 on Saturday. As has been the case for most of the season, they made too many bad passes, and weren’t smart with the basketball.
Lineup Change: A third consecutive game with a different lineup, as R.J. Davis started in place of Caleb Love. I don’t think that move got the desired results, and you’d expect to see Love back in the starting 5 against Clemson on Saturday. Nonetheless, Carolina has a point guard problem that most likely won’t be fixed this season.
Finishing Strong: Lastly, after failing to finish at NC State and Georgia Tech, Carolina has closed the games nicely to earn wins over Notre Dame, and now Miami. Andrew Platek’s experience was on display in the final minutes, hitting a tough shot to give Carolina the lead, and eventually the win.
Up Next: Carolina will return home to Clemson on Saturday night inside the Smith Center.