- I am going to start by letting my humanity show through; by pausing to be a fan of this great game. WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE.
- Two key stats tell the story:
- Carolina had exactly two turnovers in the entire game (tied for the fewest in Carolina history). That will win you a lot of basketball games.
- The teams came in number one (UNC) and two (Duke) in the country in total rebounds per game. After the Blue Devils jumped out to a commanding rebounding lead early, the Heels fought hard against Duke’s stable of big men and won the rebounding battle 44-to-38. Duke had five offensive rebounds by the first media timeout, but Carolina won that battle as well, 20-to-11. Cameron Johnson led the way for the Heels with 13 boards.
Kenny Williams on Gary Trent trying to jaw at him. “I didn’t say anything, he kept jawing I wasn’t paying attention, I heard him, smiled and nodded and kept running down the court.”
— Jarrod (@jhardy575) February 9, 2018
- Great to see Seventh Woods return to action, getting on the court for three minutes. It will take him some time to get back into game shape, but with Jalek Felton’s suspension, any minutes Woods can spell Joel Berry in this three-games-in-five-days gauntlet will be important.
- You might not have guessed this coming into the game, but Theo Pinson guarded Marvin Bagley, while Luke Maye guarded Wendell Carter, and Kenny Williams defended Grayson Allen. Pinson did as good a job as you can do on Bagley, “limiting” him to 15 points and 16 rebounds.
- Grayson Allen has not been playing to Grayson Allen standards of late, so naturally you expect him to go off against Carolina. It looked as though he might, scoring eight points in the first six minutes. However, he scored just once more the rest of the game.
- Sterling Manley did not play much (four minutes), but scored a crucial four points in that abbreviated time; all on free throws. Garrison Brooks played 12 minutes, and had some big time offensive rebounds.
Sterling Manley is working on a season-high streak of 9 consecutive made free throws.
— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) February 9, 2018
- In the opening minutes, Carolina took some questionable threes. However, misters Johnson and Williams started raining threes and finished the first half with a combined seven made. It is now safe to say that Williams’ slump is over. When these two are scoring, the Tar Heels are really difficult to beat.
- To that end, to go along with Johnson’s 18 and Williams’ 20, two other Tar Heels finished with 15+ points (Berry and Maye).
- Pinson is everywhere. Always. He is one of those players that just has a knack for being around the ball.
- Maye picked up his second foul with 10:11 remaining in the first half, but showed his upperclassman experience and did not commit another foul.
- This was a game of strange runs. From 14:45 to 8:00 of the first half, Duke made 10 straight shots. Carolina opened the second half on a 14-to-0 run (sparked by renewed defensive energy). Carolina missed 13 straight shots in the second half, allowing Duke to climb back to within three. Despite two of these being rather ominous stretches for Carolina, they still managed to pull out the victory.
- When Duke went up by 12 with 6:31 left in the first half, the Heels were in a danger zone. Rather than succumbing, they fought tough, started driving the ball and would up down just four at halftime. Carolina built on this momentum coming out of halftime and proceeded to take the lead based off of defense and attacking the basket.
- Duke is the number one scoring team in the nation, and looked every part of that in the first half. However, in the second half, Carolina held Duke to a Virginia-level-stingy 29 points. This defense helped weather the 13 straight missed shots.
- A lack of winning plays in crunch time cost Carolina against NC State and Clemson. This game was just the opposite. A Johnson three followed by two Berry free throws pushed a tenuous three-point lead back out to a more comfortable eight with 2:30 left. A Johnson offensive rebound and a Williams steal all but sealed the deal. That Williams steal led to this exclamation point dunk from Pinson with just seconds remaining:
- In other good news from the night, congrats to Isaiah Hicks for scoring his first career NBA points:
Roy Williams post-game press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. The Tar Heels’ next game is a quick turnaround to play NC State in Raleigh on Saturday, February 10. Tip is at 2:00ET on the ACC Network.