Quick Hitters – Providence (2nd Round – NCAA Tournament)

Quick Hitters from UNC’s 85-66 victory over Providence in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

 

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Brice Johnson dunks in Saturday night’s game against Providence while Justin Jackson (#44) roars his approval. Photo credit: J.D. Lyon Jr.

 

 

  1. A rough start to both halves for Carolina. In the 1st half, the Tar Heels first three offensive possessions: 0-2 from 3, 1 turnover, no post touches. In fact, the Heels attempted three 3s in the first 5 possessions. In the 2nd half, Providence started hot, reeling off 6 points in 75 seconds. Over that same stretch, Marcus Paige struggled: 2 turnovers and a missed 3.
  2. After struggling to get the ball inside on the first couple possessions, Carolina made a concerted effort to control that portion of the court. 18 of the first 21 points came from inside. For the game, Carolina dominated the boards (42-24), points in the paint (46-18), and 2nd chance points (16-1).
  3. Providence certainly proved to be the 2-headed monster they were made out to be with Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. And what a show they put on. I said in my preview that the main key to the game was stopping, or at least limiting, Dunn and Bentil. They certainly got their points (29 & 21 respectively), but their overall effectiveness was limited by foul trouble.
  4. Speaking of foul trouble, Kris Dunn picked up his second with 11:07 to go in the 1st Unfortunately the Tar Heels couldn’t capitalize on Dunn sitting out the rest of the half and, in fact, were outscored by Providence by 1 in his absence. The 2nd half was a different story. Both players had to scale back on their aggressiveness as they picked up 3rd fouls (Bentil – 17:54, Dunn 13:54), 4th fouls (Dunn – 8:44, Bentil – 8:14), and Bentil eventually fouled out at 7:23. It was during these minutes that Carolina put the game completely out of reach.
  5. Sadly for Providence, Dunn and Bentil were the only ones doing anything offensively. Other than their combined 50 points (out of 66 total for Providence), the rest of Providence’s roster had serious trouble scoring. I said in my game preview that Rodney Bullock was the X-factor for Providence. He had 2 points off of free throws, shot 0-7 from the floor, and had 4 turnovers.
  6. Providence did a pretty good job controlling pace early on, but the Tar Heels asserted their will as the game wore on and the Friars wore down. Fast break points were 20-8 in favor of the Tar Heels.
  7. Too many turnovers for Carolina. 7 in the 1st half, 8 in the 2nd – 15 in all.
  8. Carolina closed the 1st half on a 9-2 run. The biggest of that stretch was not Brice Johnson’s monster block, but rather Nate Britt’s strip that lead to 2 free throws and a 30-28 lead.
  9. 2 big defensive shifts swayed the game: One, the move to Justin Jackson guarding Dunn. Dunn still got his, but it was obvious that Jackson’s length bothered Dunn. The second shift, was the now oft-employed small ball line-up that put Theo Pinson on Ben Bentil.
  10. What a sequence for Marcus Paige from 10:29-9:56 of the 2nd He came flying in for an incredibly athletic offensive rebound and tip-in, followed by a defensive rebound, then buried a 3.
  11. Friars’ coach Ed Cooley said they needed to hit 10 3s to be in the game. The Friars shot 6-23 from deep.
  12. Heels made a lot of hey at the free throw line (19-21). Only missed free throws were from Joel James on an and-1 and Luke Maye in the closing seconds of the game. The starters, Hicks, and Britt were a combined 18-18.
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