A few days ago, Matt gave you all an article about the game’s pick-your-own player because the game against Boston College was so lacking in quality that no one really stood out for playing well. Against NC State on Roy Williams/Michael Jordan/The Championship Team of 1982 Day, the Heels bounced back in huge fashion, securing Hubert Davis’ first career cookies en route to a 100-80 rout that wasn’t quite as close as a final note. So I have the opposite problem: the team was firing on all cylinders to the point where I can’t really pick a single performance that stands out from the rest. So while I’m not going to pick your adventure, I’m just going to make 4 cases and let you hear who impressed you the most on Saturday afternoon.
Armand Bacot has yet to look back on his offensive peak, missing a few early layups and not looking exactly confident in his footwork afterwards. But he had a little easier to score and finished with a performance of 18 points and 13 rebounds on 5/10 shooting (8/10 from the free throw line). He showed great touch on a hook shot over his left shoulder and rim just as well as he has this season. On the defensive end, he contributed to a career-high tying 6 blocks as NC State continued to falter on him, doing a lot to keep the Wolfpack score as UNC took a big early lead.
Caleb Love led the Heels in scoring with 21 points on 6/16 shooting (4/6 from three, 5/5 from the line). He hit three three-pointers early to set the tone for the game and never let go. His two marks inside the arc might have been his toughest shots; one was a lay-up and the other was an extremely acrobatic finish as he crossed the lane. Love also led the team with five assists — on a day when, for all their offensive skill, the Heels assisted on just half of their field goals made — and had just one turnover, and also tied for the team lead in steals with 2.
RD Davis had another hyper-efficient offensive game, scoring 17 points on 8 shots including 3/4 from three-point field. After a few hiccups early on, he handled State pressure well as the primary ball handler and had one of his best facilitating plays, dishing out four assists for just one turnover.
And leaky black led the team in minutes and stopped Dereon Seabron, one of the conference’s top scorers. State basically runs on the contributions they can get from Seabron, Terquavion Smith and Jericole Hellems, and Black’s ability to limit the bigger Seabron to just two points on 1/6 shooting, and also not let him dominate the boards, was a huge reason UNC got so comfortable so soon. Black had a discreet stat line of 5/4/4/1, doing a bit of everything (including hitting another corner 3!), but it’s his defensive effort that really lands him here.
So what did you think? Is player of the game a team award today, or did any of the performances above stand out from the rest? Did someone miss me? Let us know in the comments!