By Adam Lucas
1. Carolina prevented a Thanksgiving catastrophe by outlasting Portland, 89-81. The Pilots used a flexible offense and assisted on 22 of 28 discipline targets to make the sport a lot tighter than anticipated. Credit to RJ Daviswho did not have an incredible day total however did lead the Heels with 5 assists, for drilling a clutch jumper with 24 seconds left to supply some respiration room after which drilling a pair of free throws with 18.4 seconds remaining.
2. Pete Nance has proven a bent early in his Carolina profession to be streaky from the perimeter. He was persistently good on Thursday, hitting 5 of his eight three-pointers, a number of at essential second half junctures. He had a key 20 second half factors when the Tar Heels desperately wanted them.
3. The offense was largely a Nance and Caleb Love manufacturing. The Tar Heel duo mixed for 51 of Carolina’s factors. They had been helped in these last 20 minutes by 9 second half rebounds from Armando Bacot, with six of these approaching the offensive glass. Those boards had been half of the Tar Heels’ first dominant effort on the glass this season, as they held a 37-22 benefit.
4. Thursday’s sport had a really odd circulation. Carolina raced to an 18-8 lead however then noticed that bulge soften away Hubert Davis started utilizing his bench. And whereas it is true the reserves weren’t productive in these first 20 minutes (a D’Marco Dunn three was the UNC bench’s solely factors in that interval, as they trailed Portland 13-3 in that class), two different issues are additionally true: the Tar Heels have to search out dependable reserves, and so they play 5 video games away from residence over a span of 11 days. The last bench level tally was a whopping 25-3 in favor of the Pilots. D’Marco Dunn, Puff Johnson and Tyler Nickell had been the one reserves to play within the second half, accumulating 5 minutes between them.
5. Love’s 23 factors pushed him previous the 1,000 level mark, giving him 1,020 for his profession. That makes him the eightieth Tar Heel to surpass 1,000, probably the most such scorers in school basketball. Louisville has the second-most 1,000-level membership members, with 69. Love simply breezed previous the mark within the first half, when his 16 factors had been largely the rationale the Tar Heels had a 40-38 benefit on the break. The junior both scored or assisted on 10 of Carolina’s 16 first half discipline targets and a really engaged Love additionally had all three of Carolina’s first half steals.
6. Tyler Robertson had been one of crucial elements of Portland’s offense early within the season, main the workforce in scoring at 17.5 factors per sport. Leaky Black drew the defensive project on him on Thanksgiving and was very efficient within the first half, limiting Robertson to only one discipline purpose try. The shooter was marginally higher within the second half, hitting 4 of his 11 pictures. Most importantly, Carolina saved him off the free throw line, the place he tried 24 makes an attempt in a sport in opposition to Portland State earlier this season.
7. Carolina has been a superb free throw capturing workforce during the last season plus, however the charity stripe was an issue on Thursday. The Tar Heels missed 5 free throws in a row in a key stretch late within the second half, which helped hold the Pilots shut. Armando Bacot lastly broke the streak by sinking the second of two tries popping out of a timeout. Carolina completed a meager 13-22 from the road (59.1%).
8. Bacot’s 11-level, 13-rebound double-double tied Antawn Jamison with 51 in his Carolina profession, the second-most by a Tar Heel ever. Billy Cunningham leads in that class with 60.
9. The 10 am native tip time necessitated a couple of tweaks to the standard Tar Heel basketball pregame routine. The program usually has a pregame meal 4 hours earlier than tipoff, however a 6 am breakfast did not appear very interesting for faculty college students, so it was adjusted to 7 am Remember that Carolina’s sport in opposition to Baylor final yr within the NCAA Tournament began at 11 am , so the Heels have some latest historical past with earlier begins. This one, nevertheless, was the earliest begin anybody in program historical past may bear in mind.
10. As you’ll anticipate, there have been lots of Nike-related festivities surrounding the occasion. All the groups attended a perform on Wednesday night time on the Nike campus that included a behind the scenes campus tour, feedback from some key basketball figures that included Roy Williams.
11. Williams was, of course, additionally in attendance on the Moda Center on Thursday. That led to a gradual procession of image-seekers within the half-hour earlier than the sport. The life of a semi-public determine is rarely regular; think about posing for dozens of selfies with strangers earlier than 10 am on Thanksgiving.
12. Carolina now awaits the winner of Villanova-Iowa State to search out out who they’ll play tomorrow at 2:30 pm native time (5:30 pm Eastern). Either approach, the final assembly is not going to have been a nice one. Carolina’s final assembly with Iowa State was a final-second 85-83 loss within the NCAA Tournament in 2013. The final matchup with Villanova was within the 2016 NCAA championship sport, and we aren’t going to speak about that.
13. That 5:30 pm Eastern begin time units up a busy day for Carolina athletics. Tar Heel soccer, of course, hosts NC State at 3:30 pm Eastern, a sport that will probably be carried on all the standard Tar Heel Sports Network shops. The THSN broadcast of the basketball sport will probably be obtainable via the Varsity app, the GoHeels web site and app, and on 102.5 FM regionally.