The North Carolina Tar Heels faced their first road test of the season, as they traveled to Charleston, South Carolina. This game came on the back of a North Carolina basketball two-game home winning streak against Brown and Loyola (Maryland).
Two undefeated teams met in this matchup, as Charleston had won their last three games. After Charleston had led the game for most of the first half and into the second half, UNC pulled away. The Tar Heels’ strategy worked out, by getting the ball in the post to 6-10 junior Armando Bacot. Guards and wings were then able to move off the ball and hit jumpers when Bacot was double-teamed. The Tar Heels scored 58 (!) points in the second half en route to a 94-83 victory.
This win moves North Carolina basketball closer to the top of the ACC.
Armando Bacot Drops Career-High in Points
The story of this game for the Tar Heels was Armando Bacot’s dominance in the paint. He finished with a career-high 24 points on 10/12 shooting. He also converted 4/9 from the free-throw line. Bacot also played a presence on defense, with 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. He will be heavily relied on this season, as some scouts thought he would leave last year. This is now the third season that Bacot has played in the Carolina blue, something that he understands.
“I knew coming back that this would be my team and I just wanted to be able to show Carolina what I am all about,” said Bacot in his post-game interview with Gary Parrish.
Bacot did exactly that in this game — showing that this is his team. With Hubert Davis’ style of offense, the opportunities for centers and power forwards to work the low block is invaluable.
North Carolina Guards Step up in Second Half
Outside of Bacot, the North Carolina Tar Heel guards added an extra 44 points. Davis’ offense is a semi-traditional four out, one in offense, where guards have the liberty to move the ball quickly. This opens up opportunities for guards to drive and kick, which sophomore guard Caleb Love took advantage of. Love finished the game with 22 points on 6/14 shooting. Love fits the bill of a quick Carolina point guard who can create plays. With Bacot being the presence inside that he was, Love was able to blow by defenders to finish at the rim. Sophomore Kerwin Walton added another 14 points off of the bench on 4/6 shooting from the three-point line.
Davis’ offense relies on big guys being able to overpower their defender, which in turn opens up driving lanes and shooting opportunities for the other four players on the court.
North Carolina basketball faces their first real test of the season, as they take on Purdue at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.