In another close, hard fought game, the Tar Heels earned their third straight ACC win with an 81-75 win over the Syracuse Orange.
It was another game that featured yet another different starting lineup; the new face being ACC preseason player of the year, Garrison Brooks. As well as Day’Ron Sharpe had been playing, I believe Brooks earned the start because of his experience vs Syracuse and more specifically, his ability to effectively shoot and pass from the elbow-exactly where North Carolina wanted to attack the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Brooks took advantage of his opportunity, scoring 16 points and 10 grabbing rebounds.
The first 10 minutes of the game were as close as it could get. Neither team held a lead larger than two. At the eight minute mark of the first half, the Tar Heels used strong high-low post play to go on a 7-0 run and grab a 25-18 lead. Sparked by hot shooting from Buddy Boeheim, the Organe closed the half on a 14-4 run. The teams went to the locker rooms tied at 40.
The Tar Heels started the second half on a 9-0 run. It was vintage North Carolina basketball; low post play and points in transition. The Orange answered with a quick 12-0 run, and it was a close battle from there. Each team had their runs, and the Tar Heels held a 67-66 lead at the under four media timeout. The Tar Heels used the last four minutes to ultimately seize control and close the game.
*Three consecutive ACC wins is always a good thing.
*The resurgence of Garrison Brooks. Can his confidence gained lead to the Garrison Brooks we are used to?
*We saw a prioritized effort to get the transition game going.
*Battle of the paint-North Carolina won points scored and overall rebounds. The high-low post game was the difference in the game.
The not so positives:
*There continues to be extended scoring droughts.
*Three-point shooting-the Tar Heels shot 5 of 24 for 21% from three.
Leading scorers-Brooks-16, Bacot-15, Davis-12
Leading rebounders-Bacot-12, Brooks-10
Next up for the Tar Heels-Saturday, January 16th at Florida St. the game is scheduled for noon eastern time.