Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 76-67 win over Alabama in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Wednesday afternoon.
- What a relief to see Brandon Robinson back in action. Stats aside, the most important thing Robinson brings is senior leadership; evidenced by Robinson getting in the face of superstar freshman Cole Anthony late in the game when Anthony was upset.
- But let’s also not forget what Robinson will contribute statistically to this team. He scored the first points of the game on a three from the left wing. Robinson played 26 minutes, scored a career high 12 points, shot 3-for-6 from deep, had six rebounds, two assists, and just one turnover.
- Here’s Robinson talking about his return:
- Having another reliable body in the backcourt also lowers the number of minutes necessary for other Tar Heels to play. This is particularly important in a three-games-in-three-days tournament. Cole Anthony, in particular, played a season-low 32 minutes.
- With the victory, Coach Williams ties Adolph Rupp for fifth on the all-time list with 876 career victories. Congratulations to Coach!
- Given the Tar Heels’ early-season offensive struggles, finding ways to steal extra possessions is imperative. One such way is rebounding. Wrap your mind around what Carolina had already accomplished coming into today’s game:
- 25 RPG (1st in nation)
- 25 D-RPG (1st in nation)
- +19.5 Rebound margin (1st in nation)
- 00 O-RPG (T-9th in nation)
- Today’s results against a similarly strong rebounding Alabama team will only grow Carolina’s advantages in those categories: 60 total rebounds, 37 defensive rebounds, 23 offensive rebounds, and +29 rebounding margin. For context, while Carolina had 23 offensive rebounds, Alabama managed just 23 DEFENSIVE rebounds.
- Each starter had at least six rebounds and every player who played at least one minute had two or more rebounds.
- For the first time all season, Carolina allowed a team to shoot over 40% in a half. Alabama shot 43.8% in the second half (14-32). However, Carolina still hasn’t allowed an opponent to shoot 40% for the entire game.
- This defensive effort is important, because the Tar Heels have failed to reach 80 points in any game this season. Bama was the first team to break the 65-point barrier against Carolina, scoring 67.
- Free throw shooting continues to be a bugaboo. Carolina shot 61.9% (13-21) for the game. The team is shooting 62.1% (72-116) on the season.
- Turnovers have been another Achilles heel. The team committed 20 today. Six from Cole Anthony. Five from Garrison Brooks. During one stretch of the first six minutes of the game, the Tar Heels had four straight turnovers.
- As seems to always happen, a shooter went nuts against the Heels. Alabama’s John Petty, Jr. hit five threes in the first half, accounting for 15 of his teams’ 31 points in that 20 minutes. As a team, the Crimson Tide shot 5-for-10 from deep in the second half.
- Four Tar Heels scored in double-figures. Garrison Brooks tied a career high with 20, 13 for Cole Anthony, while Brandon Robinson (career high) and Armando Bacot each had 12. Leaky Black was on the door step with nine points (and added nine rebounds).
- Armando Bacot secured his third straight double-double. This time he had the aforementioned 12 points (all in the second half) and grabbed a career high 15 rebounds.
- The “tip-out” is a staple of Carolina’s offense. The Heels had four successful tip-outs today, three of which came during free throw rebounding action.
- The highlight of the game came on the baseline out-of-bounds (BLOB) play immediately following the second half under-4:00 media timeout. Leaky Black set a great pick to free Garrison Brooks for a vicious one-handed alley-oop jam off the Cole Anthony inbound pass.
- Andrew Platek continues to do positive things. With 5:30 left in the first half, he outran and overmatched a Crimson Tide player for an offensive rebound. He found Garrison Brooks in the lane for the bucket.
Roy Williams postgame press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is the semifinal of the Battle 4 Atlantis against Michigan on Thanksgiving Day. The Tar Heels and Wolverines play for the third time in the past three years, having split the previous two. Tip is at 1:30ET on ESPN.
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