A trap game is a game where a stronger team faces a seemingly lessor opponent the week before facing a formidable opponent causing the focus of the team to be on the next stronger opponent with the expectation of an easy win over the current opponent.
With Saturday’s UNC vs Miami game sandwiched between and win over in-state rival NC State and an upcoming visit from #3 UVA, the Hurricanes, who are tied for last place in the ACC with Wake Forest, were set up perfectly to be the beneficiary of a quintessential trap game. But the Tar Heels, who have been a different team since losing their conference opener to Louisville, won the type of contest they would’ve lost earlier in the season.
The game started with both teams trading runs. Miami started with a 6-0 run and the Tar Heels answered with a 7-0 run of their own. With 2:39 remaining in the 1st half both teams were tied at 26 before the Heels went to the locker room at halftime with a 31-30 lead.
UNC opened the 2nd half a perfect 6-6 from the floor, including 2-2 from 3 – jumping out to a 47-40 lead with 15:10 remaining in regulation. The Hurricanes answered with a 13-0 run of their own, taking a 53-47 lead with 12:33 left in the 2nd. Then the Cody White and Chris Lykes show started. Lykes would hit a 3 and White would answer. Then Coby would hit a 3 and Lykes would answer. By the time it was over, Miami was up 77-74 with 21 seconds remaining. Roy Williams, knowing attention would go to the hot-handed White, drew up a play for a Luke Maye corner 3 that the senior drained sending the game into overtime.
Miami struck first in OT, but a Garrison Brooks dunk, followed by a Kenny Williams 3 and two free throws by Coby White would put the Tar Heels up for good.
Roy Williams hasn’t been shy about questioning this team’s toughness and his criticisms have been heard.
“We showed ourselves that we can pull out the tough, ugly games and we can fight through some adversity,” senior Kenny Williams said after the win. “We hit a lot of adversity today, but we continued make plays and shots and were able to pull through.”
- UNC Scoring Leader: Coby White 33
- UNC Rebound Leader: Garrison Brooks, Luke Maye and Nassir Little 6
- UNC Assist Leader: Coby White 6
- This is the first time Carolina is 9-1 in Roy Williams’ 16 seasons as head coach.
- Miami (14) and Carolina (13) combined for 27 three-pointers, which tie the third most in any game in the Smith Center.
- White’s 33 points tie the 33 he scored against Texas on 11/22 for the third most by a Tar Heel freshman.