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Heel Tough Blog: Wake Forest Recap

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Seeking a bounce back performance after losing to Duke on Saturday, UNC fell in Winston-Salem, 92-85, as an already disappointing season, hit another low. Despite the final score, this game was all but over at halftime, and even more so at the under-12 timeout in the first half. The Demon Deacons led 47-25 at the break, as they shot a blistering 52% in the first 20 minutes, they were 5-11 from behind the arc and scored a whopping 24 points in the paint. Meanwhile, Carolina’s struggle on offense continues, as they scored just 25 points, on 33% shooting, and committed 7 turnovers. Armando Bacot posted 13 points and 8 rebounds in the first half to lead UNC, but no other player scored more than 2 points. Needing a run to start the second half, Carolina instead fell behind by 26, and it looked like a result similar to last year in this building was well underway. Hubert Davis went to his bench, and slowly but surely, Carolina eventually made it a 10 points game, at 82-72 with less than 3 minutes remaining. That’s when Caleb Love, who made all of Carolina’s three-pointers tonight, opted to settle for a deep perimeter shot, which missed, and led to a runout the other way for Wake Forest.

In the second half, Carolina did outscore Wake Forest, 60-45, but they put the Deacons at the foul line 36 times, as they converted 27 of them. Caleb Love scored 22 points in the second half on 9-16 shooting, but he finished the game with 24 points, on 9-25 shooting overall. For the game, Carolina shot 41% compared to 44% for Wake Forest. Despite holding the Deacons to 5-26 from behind the arc, Carolina was just 4-22, as their perimeter woes continue. With Wake shooting 36 foul shots in the second half, they dominated that area of the box score, as they were 33-42 for the game, while UNC was 21-26. UNC even won the rebounding battle, points in the paint, and second-chance points, but the first half deficit was too much to overcome.

For the third straight time, Carolina has lost in Winston-Salem, and the last time that happened, Billy Cunningham was taking down an effigy of Coach Smith when the team arrived back in Chapel Hill after the defeat. It’s not the loss necessarily that hurts, as Wake has been a very good home team under Steve Forbes, but more the way that Carolina lost, which had Hubert Davis keeping his team in the locker room for almost 45 minutes after the game, because it’s becoming more clear that if something doesn’t change, this season will be a forgotten one.

  1. Tyree Appleby: Hats off to the two-time transfer guard, as he was the best player on the floor tonight, scoring 35 points, and handing out 11 assists. Appleby was 23-28 from the foul line, which are ACC records for makes, and attempts in a single game, as UNC simply had no answer for his ability to penetrate off the dribble. Steve Forbes was able to coach Alondes Williams to the ACC Player of the Year award last season, he may have another in Appleby.

  2. Perimeter Shooting: Until Carolina gets better floor spacing, and better shot selection, the pedestrian shooting numbers are going to continue. Only Caleb Love made a three-pointer tonight, as he posted one of his better shooting nights from the outside going 4-9.

  3. Bench Minutes: Given the lack of effort from the starters, Hubert Davis did opt to play his bench more than normal, as Puff Johnson played 26 minutes, Seth Trimble played 12, Tyler Nickel played 10, and Jalen Washington played 6, along with 2 minutes for D’Marco Dunn. Hopefully, Hubert was able to find more trust in his reserves, as he needs more from his bench given the struggles from the starters this season.

Up Next: Carolina does return home for their next game, as they host Clemson in a very important game, with a tip scheduled for 2 PM on ESPN.


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