In dominant fashion, Carolina cruised into the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament, after dispatching Marquette 95-63 in a game that wasn’t even that close. It was a spectacular offensive performance as Carolina assisted on 29 of their 34 made baskets. Carolina put four players in double figures scoring led by Brady Manek’s 28 points, as the offense was functioning at a high level. That was in large part due to the shooting 13-35 (37%) from behind the three-point line, as Caleb Love was 6-13 from behind the arc. He made all of his triples in the first half, to tie the program record for made threes in an NCAA Tournament game. They also pounded the Golden Eagles on the glass 52-37, as they beat the opponent in every possible way today.
After trailing 10-8 early in the first half, Carolina used an extended 20-2 to take control of the game, as they built a 28 point lead at the break. That 28 point margin is the second-largest lead at the half in program history, as UNC led Rhode Island by 29 back in 1993. During the run, Marquette fell apart as Darryl Morsell and Shaka Smart both collected technical fouls. For a team that lacked a killer instinct for most of the season, when Carolina smelled blood, they kept their foot on the gas and routed an overmatched opponent.
This was a great way to earn Hubert Davis his first win in the NCAA Tournament, as the first time head coach has his team playing their best basketball of the season, at the most important time. The 32 point margin of victory is the largest ever in an 8/9 matchup in the NCAA Tournament. This team continues to validate that win over Duke a little over two weeks ago, and if today was any indication, they aren’t ready to go home just yet:
Assists: Of the 34 made field goals today, Carolina assisted on 29 of them, as they displayed a beautiful version of offensive basketball. R.J. Davis handed out 12 dimes, with 1 turnover. His 12 assists are the second-most in program history in the Big Dance, as Kendall Marshall handed out 14 previously. Their constant ball movement, led to quality looks from the perimeter, and effectively wore out Marquette in the first half.
Defense: The game plan entering today’s game was to take away Justin Lewis, and Leaky Balck did just that. Lewis was 0-8 from the field in the first half, and just 2-15 for the game, as he scored only 6 points, 11 points below his average. For the game, the Golden Eagles shot just 36% from the field, and 26% from behind the three-point line.
Armando Bacot: His historic season continues on, as he now has the most rebounds in a single season, surpassing the mark set by Brice Johnson back during the 2015-16 season. He also recorded his 26th double-double of the season, extending his own personal record.
Up Next: Carolina will now take on #1 seed Baylor on Saturday, with the tip time to be announced sometime later tonight.