- Sure thing, ACC scheduling department, throw a three-games-in-five-days gauntlet in our direction. We will just go ahead and knock off the “team” (editor’s note: the term “team” is used loosely and thus in quotes) with arguably the most talent in the country on our way to sweeping those three games. What has been the impact of the three game stretch? Joel Berry talks about it:
- In South Bend, Notre Dame won the rebounding battle 45-37, including 20 offensive rebounds. A lot of the problem stemmed from boxing out issues, which manifest themselves early in the rematch. However, Carolina ended up exacting a measure of revenge in the rebounding department, coming away with a 42-29 advantage.
- This felt like a game where Carolina had several chances to put Notre Dame away early, but was not able to do so. Was this the result of weary legs? Or was it the inability to close out a scrappy Notre Dame squad trying to steal enough wins to stay above water awaiting the return of Bonzie Colson?
- However, when the Heels did eventually drop the hammer, they dropped it hard and swiftly. The closing push started on the play where John Mooney picked up his fourth foul. Theo Pinson’s bucket and free throw were the first three points in a decisive 13-0 run from 5:30 to 1:07, which extended the Carolina lead from four to 17. Not to mention that this all happened in the final moments of the toughest physical stretch of the conference season.
- The turnover pendulum swung back in the right direction after surrendering only two against Duke, but an astounding 19 to NC State. Carolina committed only six turnovers tonight.
- Luke Maye did not have a great scoring night, shooting 3-for-11, but he contributed in some other important ways. He dished out four assists against only one turnover, added two blocks, eight rebounds, and hit both his free throws. This also means Louisville is in trouble on Saturday. Why? This is the fifth time Maye has scored in single digits this season. The game after the first four single-digit scoring performances, he followed up with 27, 17, 32, and 26 points, a 25.5 average.
- Carolina did not shoot a great percentage from the free throw line (13-for-20, 65 percent), but thankfully Notre Dame (the ACC’s second best free throw shooting team) was even worse at 52.2 percent (12-for-23).
- Kenny Williams has really rediscovered his shot over the current four-game winning streak. Coincidence? I think not. In that stretch he has averaged 15 points a game, shot 22-for-39 (56.4 percent) on field goals, and 14-for-25 (56.0 percent) on threes.
- Martinas Geben picked up his second foul just three minutes into the game (thanks to a drawn charge courtesy of Mr. Pinson). Carolina went on an immediate 10-0 run. However, the previously mentioned Mooney took Geben’s place and proceeded to hit five first half three-pointers, keeping Notre Dame in the game and adding his name to the list of random people to catch fire from deep against the Heels.
- Apparently the only way to stop Mooney from scoring was to put him on the free throw line. He went 0-for-3 with Carolina up only for with just seven minutes remaining.
- Thankfully though, TJ Gibbs and Matt Farrell combined to shoot 0-for-13 on field goals in the first half. For the game, the Irish starting back court (including Rex Pflueger) shot a combined 5-for-34.
- Just before the closing 13-0 run, Cameron Johnson had a monster dunk over Pflueger. It’s worth a couple looks:
- Coach Williams did an amazing job managing minutes. No one had more than 34. If you are curious how the Heels went about staying fresh during the three-games-in-five-days stretch, read Adam Lucas’ article about the Heels’ Road to Recovery.
As usual, it looks like RoyW has played his cards correctly. Mixed in a little more bench minutes early, but had his fresh starting 5 ready to put the game away late.
— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) February 13, 2018
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 at Louisville on Saturday, February 17 and has massive ACC Tournament seeding implications. Tip is at 8:00ET on ESPN.