The North Carolina Tar Heels finished off the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with a much-needed win over the Michigan Wolverines. This game is on the back of two recently tough schedules for both of the schools. North Carolina came into the game dropping two out of their last three games to Purdue and Tennessee. Michigan came into the game losing two out of their last four games, with one of their wins coming in a close game to Tarleton State.
Both teams were looking for a big win to get their season back on track. At halftime, the Tar Heels led the Wolverines by two. North Carolina was able to use a 43-point second half to beat the Wolverines, 72-51.
Caleb Love Continues to Impress for North Carolina Basketball
Sophomore point guard Caleb Love was once again the bright spot on this North Carolina basketball team against Michigan. He scored 22 points in the game on 9/16 shooting, including 4/7 from the three-point line. North Carolina was able to execute coach Hubert Davis’ offense to perfection on Wednesday. The four out, one in offense gave Love the ability to use his quick step and get to the basket. He was also able to take Michigan defenders off of the dribble to make space for open shots. With Love’s ability to get around defenders and into the lane, three-point shots will be available for other Tar Heel players.
Dawson Garcia shot 2/2 from three, RJ Davis shot 1/3 and Brady Manek added another one. When North Carolina gets stagnate on offense, Love is usually the one who can work the ball around and provide a spark, as he did against Michigan.
North Carolina Tar Heels Limit Michigan’s Hunter Dickenson
In one 12-second span early in the second half, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot was able to draw two fouls on Hunter Dickenson. These were Dickenson’s third and fourth fouls, bringing him to the bench for around 10 minutes of game time. North Carolina was able to take advantage of this, culminating in an onslaught of three-point makes and thunderous dunks. Bacot finished the game with 11 points. The main result of Dickenson being limited was the open driving lanes and the rest that Bacot got on defense. This, coupled with the sweet three-point shooting, allowed North Carolina to shoot 46% from three and limited them to only six turnovers. Dickenson finished with four points and five rebounds.
North Carolina Tar Heels Moving Forward
There is a lot to be happy about as a North Carolina fan, player and coach after this game. They shot 42% from three, totaled 13 assists and scored 34 points in the paint. This is especially exciting to see after North Carolina dropped two games to Purdue and Tennessee.
Davis’ Tar Heel squad opened up at 19th in the rankings but fell out of the top 25 after those two losses. It is very likely that the Tar Heels will find themselves back in the top 25, after the win over 24 Michigan. This was also Hubert Davis’ first road win against a ranked opponent.
If they can build off of this win and continue to limit their turnovers, North Carolina may be able to challenge Duke and Louisville for the top spot in the ACC.
North Carolina takes on Georgia Tech in their first ACC game of the year on Friday, December 5. They don’t play a ranked opponent again until UCLA travels to Chapel Hill for one of the most anticipated matchups of the year for Carolina fans.