Looking to respond after Tuesday’s performance, Carolina laid another egg on the road tonight, suffering a 98-76 defeat to Wake Forest, to fall to 12-6 (4-3) on the season. After Tuesday’s 28 points defeat, this makes it the first time since 2001-02, that the Tar Heels have lost back-to-back games, by at least 20 points. Jake LaRavia scored a career-high 31 points, to lead the Demon Deacons, whose quartet of LaRavia, Williams, Williamson, and Monsanto combined to score 86, of the team’s 98 points. Wake Forest shot 54% from the field, scored 30 points in transition, and 21 points off UNC turnovers to power their efficient offensive effort.
The Tar Heels were led by Brady Manek’s 22 points, on 8-17 shooting before fouling out late in the second half. Armando Bacot recorded his ninth straight double-double, the longest such streak since John Henson did so back in 2010-11. R.J. Davis was the only other Tar Heel to reach double figures, as he scored 18 points on 6-12 shooting. Carolina shot just 33% from the field, and 21% from behind the arc. Their most successful offense was their second chance offense, as they grabbed 23 offensive rebounds, and converted them into 29 second-chance points.
Believe it or not, Carolina did hold a 23-21 lead in the first half, before a 20-7 Demon Deacons run all put the game away, as this team isn’t capable of responding after being hit in the mouth. This was a chance for UNC to earn their first Quad 1 win, as they are needing to start putting their case to make the field of 68 for this year’s NCAA Tournament. Instead, they turned in another, disappointing, disheartening performance, as the season is on the verge of being all but lost.
Defense: After a great stretch back in December defensively, this team is a lost cause on the defensive end of the court. Miami had 3 players outscore the entire team the other night, today Wake had 4 players do the same thing. To his credit, Hubert Davis did try some different combinations, and even played a zone defense, to no avail. Defense starts and ends with effort, and as is the case with offensive-minded teams, their defense is dictated by their offense. It’s clear to see that when their shots aren’t falling, they aren’t tough enough to compete defensively.
Rotation: With Anthony Harris unavailable for the rest of the season, Hubert has to find a way to replace his minutes in the rotation, and hopefully replicate the effort he brought when on the court. Puff Johnson played 13 minutes and scored 2 points. Justin McKoy played 16 minutes and totaled 4 points. Both freshmen saw the court as well, but it’s going to be tough to replace Harris’ absence.
Turnovers: Carolina committed just 11 turnovers, but allowed Wake to turn those into 21 points. Tuesday night, it was 14 turnovers, turned into 30 points. Simply put, when this team turns the ball over, they aren’t going to get back and get a stop, as they were out-scored 30-2 in transition.
Rebounding: It’s hard to imagine out-rebounding your opponent 50-38, including 23-3 on the offensive glass and still getting blown out, but that’s what happened to Carolina tonight. Armando Bacot led the team with 12 rebounds.
Offense: It’s easy to understand why Carolina’s offense has hit a wall this week, as they only assisted on 9 of their 27 made baskets. This means they assisted on only 33% of their made shots and had a negative assist/turnover ratio. It’s hard to play high level offense when the ball doesn’t move, and players are more interested in playing one on one basketball, instead of team basketball.
Up Next: Carolina returns home for 3 games next week, and first up is Virginia Tech on Monday night at 8 PM on the ACC Network.