After scoring just 58 points, and shooting just 29% in Wednesday’s win over Boston College, Carolina turned in their best offensive performance of the season, scoring 100 points, in a 100-80 win over rival NC State. The Tar Heels shot 55% from the field, 56% from behind the arc, as they put four players in double figures scoring. They did all of this in front of both Roy Williams who was honored at halftime, as well as the 1982 national championship team, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary of Dean Smith’s first national championship team. Caleb Love led the way with 21 points, as he connected on four triples. Armando Bacot recorded his 16th double-double of the season, and in the process became the 79th Tat Heel to score 1,000 career points, which is the most in the NCAA.
State entered the game looking to secure a win that could salvage what has become a lost season for them, but they were hit by an initial wave of Tar Heel emotion, and never recovered. Dereon Seabron scored just 2 points and played only 23 minutes. He entered the game, leading the Pack in four major categories. Terquavion Smith stepped up and scored a game-best 34 points.
The win over State, completed a 3-0 week at home, as they hope to use this week as a springboard moving forward for the rest of the 2021-22 season. It was also the first win for Hubert Davis over one of his rivals. He’ll have a chance to earn another one, next Saturday when Duke visits Chapel Hill. As for now, Carolina will take this win, and this offensive performance, after struggling earlier in the week:
Good Offense: After scoring just 58 points on Wednesday night, Carolina scored 56 in the first half alone, as they built a 56-31 halftime advantage. The Tar Heels shot 55%, 56% from behind the arc, as six different Tar Heels made a three-pointer. They also scored 25 points in transition, as they turned in a performance they hope to build off of, going into next week.
Pressure: Early in the game, State’s press forced Carolina to take a timeout, as they had a hard time getting the ball in play. Besides that though, they handled the press as well as they have all season, despite turning the ball over 12 times. There were times, when Carolina was able to beat the press and get an easy basket as a result.
Bench: Despite playing only seven players for the majority of the game, Carolina got great contributions from the bench today, as the outscored State’s reserves 22-9. Puff Johnson was the leading reserve for UNC, scoring 8 points, as he was 3-5 from the field. Dontrez Styles was the leading scorer off the bench with 6, then Kerwin Walton added 5. Blue squad member, Jackson Watkins swished home a free throw, that earned Carolina their 100th point of the game.
Assists: Even with the 12 turnovers, Carolina had a positive assist to turnover ratio, as they handed out 17 assists, on their 34 made baskets. It’s not a coincidence that better ball movement led to the explosion on offense today for Carolina.
Roy Williams: The former head coach was honored at halftime, and had a banner unveiled in the rafters of the Smith Center, following his legendary career at North Carolina. It was only fitting that he’d be honored during an NC State game, as he was 33-5 against the Pack.
1982 National Title Team: Not only was Roy Williams in the building, so were members of the 1982 national team, including Michael Jordan, who was being recognized for the 40th anniversary of their 1982 championship season. All that emotion in the building, made it that much harder for State to win the game, let alone be competitive.
Up Next: The Tar Heels are back at it on Tuesday, as they’ll travel to take on Louisville, at 8 PM, on the ACC Network.