We stressed entering this week how important it was for Carolina to go 2-0 at home this week, and that is what they did after beating Wake Forest on Wednesday, and NC State earlier today. The win over the Wolfpack improves Carolina to 10-5 overall, including 5-3 in a mediocre ACC. The win over NC State also avenged an earlier loss to them from back in December, where Carolina failed to meet the intensity games like this bring upon.
A big reason for the win was in large part because Carolina shot the ball as well as they have all season long, shooting 54% for the game. In the first half they had their best shooting half of the season, shooting 56.8% in the first half. This performance follows their best shooting half in the second half against Wake Forest on Wednesday night. The Tar Heels put 5 guys in double figures scoring led by Armando Bacot’s 17 points. Off the bench, Anthony Harris, R.J. Davis and Day’Ron Sharpe all scored in double figures, as Carolina’s depth was on display in the game. Calen Love continued his improved play, scoring 15 points on 6-15 shooting, following up his first career 20 point game in Chapel Hill.
While Carolina shot it well once again, they also did some other things well today as well. Carolina out-rebounded State, 44-30 grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, which were converted into 17 second chance points. But, has been the case all season long, even in the wins, they left some plays on the floor:
Bench Production: It’s hard to ignore what the bench did today for Carolina, as they out-scored NC State’s reserves 38-12. Day’Ron Sharpe’s double-double was a huge lift, as Garrison Brooks struggled with foul issues all game long. Anthony Harris hasn’t seem consistent minutes since coming back from injury, but his 10 points in just 11 minutes were beneficial. Roy Williams is finally starting to shorten his rotation, and that’s an easier thing to do, when you can count on consistent bench production which is starting to become a thing in recent weeks.
Efficient Offense: All of a sudden, Carolina has the look of a team that can score the ball, and do so efficiently. The 86 points are easily the most they’ve scored this season, and doing so while shooting 54% for the game. That 54% clip, looks even better when you factor in that they only shot 36% from behind the arc. This is also the first time they’ve scored 80 or more in back to back games for the first time this season, as the young Tar Heels appear to be growing up in front of our eyes.
Turnovers: After committing just 3 turnovers in the first half, Carolina committed 10 miscues in the second half, which allowed State to stay in the game. With that in mind though, Carolina did a much better job handling the pressure applied by the Pack, as the backcourt is maturing in more ways than one.
Inside Dominance: Even with Carolina winning 5 out of 6, they haven’t played well inside. That all changed today, as Armando Bacot and Day’Ron Sharpe completely dominated today’s game. 48 of the Heels’ 86 points came in the painted area, as Roy Williams was adamant about his team playing inside-out moving forward.
Up Next: Carolina heads back on the road, as they’ll travel to Pitt on Tuesday night.