Ask any Tar Heel of Blue Devil recruit leading up to February’s annual Duke/Carolina matchup and they’ll tell you this game is one of the main reasons why they signed to play with either team. Your college career may be short, but your performance in this matchup, when outstanding, will live on forever. Saturday night freshman Caleb Love joined the ranks of Raymond Felton, Tyler Hansbrough and Brice Johnson as Tar Heel players who had impressive performances against North Carolina’s biggest rival in the state’s biggest game.
A little over four minutes into the game, Love scored his first three points on an emphatic and-1 dunk. That set the tone. It was going to be one of those nights. His 25-point game that included going 4-5 from three, seven assists, two rebounds and 1 steal was the type of performance fans have been looking for from the All-American freshman who was ranked 14th in the 2020 recruiting class by 247 Sports.
“I was in that zone,” Love said after the victory. “Going into the game I knew I had to be a big part of the my team getting this win. It’s been a long season for me – up and down, but it was great making these shots.”
To Coach Roy Williams, his five-star recruit’s performance was impressive, but he’d still like to see his floor general lessen the turnovers.
“I don’t care if he is a five-star or three-moons,” Williams said when asked if this was the type of game he expected when he recruited his five-star point guard. “That doesn’t make one bit of difference to me. Everybody thought I was crazy when I said how good Marcus Paige was going to be. Caleb did some really good things tonight. I said if you take away his five turnovers, it would be his best game. A point guard cannot have five turnovers. You say, ‘Well, he had 25 points.’ That’s pretty doggone good. That’s his career high so that is pretty doggone good. I kept him on the floor, he played 31 minutes. He did some really good things and made some big shots for us. He made a couple big free throws down the stretch as well.”
A good coach will always push his players to be better, but Love’s performance is the type of showing that fans will remember for years to come. It’s the type of game that can catapult the Heels on an incredible run. It’s the type of showing the best rivalry in college sports will bring out of you.