Roy Williams is a winner. We already knew that, but I felt like reminding you after Carolina made the 23 mile trip to Raleigh, and beat State 75-65. This was came despite Caroline being without Cole Anthony, Jeremiah Francis, Anthony Harris and Sterling Manley. Even senior guard Brandon Robinson had to leave the game multiple times with different ailments suffered over the course of the 40 minutes if basketball. It was a second straight win for Carolina, who know finds itself at 10-10 ( 3-6 ). With Anthony nearing a return, and Francis hopefully getting through his knee soreness, there's reason for optimism in what was feeling like a lost season. For the game, UNC shot 49%, as they got whatever look they wanted inside the painted area. Garrison Brooks played a grown man game, scoring 25 points, and grabbing 11 rebounds. These kind of performances are becoming the norm for the junior big man from Alabama. As impressive as the offense was again, you have to credit the defense for this win. CJ Bryce entered the game as the Packs leading scorer, and he didn't make a basket Every time State would put together a spurt, the defense would settle back in, and make life hard for them offensively. For the game, State only shot 42%, and UNC dominated the backboards with a 42-31 margin, which allowed them to dictate the pace of play.
We've already established that Roy Williams is a winner, we also need to establish that Brandon Robinson is a tough lil nut. The senior left the game multiple times, yet kept coming back on the floor to battle with his teammates. Just like losses can pile up on you, wins can string together after you gain a jolt of confidence. The Tar Heels got the jolt on Saturday, and carried that over to tonight's game. 3 things to takeaway from the win over State:
1. Balanced Scoring: 4 players posted double figures, add in 8 points from Andrew Platek and they got the kind of scoring Roy Williams prefers. This made it made for Garrison Brooks to be double teamed, as everyone else on the floor posed a threat to score the basketball. Brooks is going to need help, if this team is going to make a run, and it appears guys are ready to step up.
2. Team Defense: There were plenty of times that a State player got past a player in blue, probably too often for Roy Williams liking. What happened after that is something that we haven't seen much this season. The defense rotated over, and made plays. The communication was on point tonight. State was going to put pressure on the Carolina defense with their smaller lineup, so it was going to be a challenge to make plays as they presented themselves. Carolina did that, and it led to a big time win on the road.
3. Rebounding: The 42-31 margin was the biggest stat from this game. Carolina used its size advantage to dominate the glass, which led to many second chance points opportunities, and control the pace of play. Usually you this team play at a faster tempo, but with all the injuries there's been a slower pace of play. Tonight that work in their favor, because it allowed UNC to get into it's half-court sets, which have improved over the last few weeks.
Up Next: Carolina doesn't play for 5 days, when they host Boston College on Saturday at 6 pm. ACC Network will televise the game.