College Hoops

UNC Ends 2-Game Skid Versus UNC Asheville, But the Heels Still Have Work to Do

It was a tough weekend for UNC. The Tar Heels dropped two games in a row to 6th ranked Purdue and 17th ranked Tennessee in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. Coming out of those two losses, Hubert Davis said picking up the intensity on defense would be a focus of the team going forward. We saw that Tuesday night in UNC’s 72-53 win over UNC Asheville.

The Tar Heels looked better defensively – limiting the Bulldogs to just 26% from the floor, but despite the final score, it was far from a pretty game by the Heels. They turned the ball over 18 times, were out-rebounded on the offensive boards 15-13 and allowed UNC Asheville to trim a once twenty point lead to seven in the second half. The Tar Heels can withstand theses lapses in play against a team like Asheville, but with an upcoming schedule that features games against Michigan, Georgia Tech and UCLA, the Tar Heels will have to tighten up…and fast.

“We’ve got some amazing talent,” graduate transfer Brady Manek said after the game. “We’ve got some good players. We have a lot of guys who know how to play basketball. We’ve got to play basketball. We have four McDonald’s Americans. The most I’ve ever had on a team is one. Put four on a team, you should be really good and we’re not showing it. We have to play better. We have to play harder. We have to play smarter. And we need to make up for what happened.”

In a game where guys thought their effort was improved defensively, it was at the cost of efficiency on the offensive end. The key for the Heels heading into next week’s matchup against the Wolverines will be putting together a complete 40 minutes of play.

“One of the things that we have talked about is sustaining the type of effort that we need to have on both ends of the floor for the entire game,” head coach Hubert Davis said. “We really haven’t put a full 40 minutes together. We’ve had spots, we’ve had half’s, and in order to have the ability to achieve the things that we want and our goals as a team, we’re going to have to put a full game together. Those are things we’re continuing to work on. Those are things that will come.  It’s only game six and very few teams are ready or settled right now on game six, but we’re improving – we’re getting better. I like where our team is and I like where our team is going to be at the end of the year.”

Postgame Notes:

UNC Scoring Leader: Armando Bacot 22
UNC Rebound Leader: Leaky Black 11
UNC Assist Leader: Caleb Love 5
Team Records: North Carolina 4-2, UNC Asheville 2-3

Carolina Notes

  • Tar Heels are 3-0 at the Smith Center this season.
  • Tonight’s officials were Clare Aubry, Ron Groover and Justin Porterfield. Aubry is the first female to referee a Carolina men’s basketball game.
  • The Tar Heels held UNC Asheville to 26.5 percent shooting from the floor. The Bulldogs’ field goal percentage was the lowest by an opponent since Evansville shot 25.8 percent on 12/6/2012.
  • The Bulldogs’ field goal percentages were the two lowest in a half by an opponent in the first six games (27.3 percent in the first half and 25.7 in the second).
  • This was the first time an opponent shot under 30 percent in both halves since Virginia Tech on 3/10/2020 in Greensboro in the ACC Tournament.
  • UNC Asheville’s 53 points were the fewest by an opponent this year. The Bulldogs’ 24 points in the first half were the lowest by an opponent in any half this season.
  • Leaky Black had a career-high 11 rebounds and scored a season-high nine points.
  • Armando Bacot scored a game-high 22 points on 8 of 14 from the floor and a season-best 6 of 7 from the free throw line.
  • This was Bacot’s third 20-point game of the season and seventh of his career.
  • Bacot led UNC with a season-best plus-20.
  • RJ Davis was the only other Tar Heel to score in double figures with 12. Two players in double figures is the fewest this season.
  • Carolina scored 72 points for the second game in a row, which equals the fewest this season.
  • Carolina matched its season low in three-pointers made (7) but shot a season-high 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.
  • Carolina grabbed a season-high 51 rebounds.
  • The Tar Heels are 439-81 in the Smith Center, including 214-18 against non-ACC opponents.

Series Notes

  • Carolina is 9-0 against UNC Asheville.
  • Carolina is 174-18 against in-state non-ACC opponents.

Next Game:

Wednesday, December 1 vs. Michigan (ACC-Big Ten Challenge), Chapel Hill, 9:20 p.m

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