Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 89-76 road loss to Duke on Saturday night.
- Carolina fought valiantly to maintain proximity to Duke tonight, but it was not meant to be. The Heels weathered an early Blue Devil storm and eventually tied the game at 28, before finding themselves down by eight at halftime. Again the Heels clawed back to within one point twice in the second half, but couldn’t make the plays to get over the hump and the lead ballooned to the final margin of 13 points.
- With apologies to Garrison Brooks, can we just pause and appreciate what a rough season Brandon Robinson’s body has endured? He has suffered countless ankle injuries and re-aggravations, a car accident, and tonight a head injury. The official word came out that Robinson would not play in the second half after taking an elbow to the face in the closing minutes of the first half. And yet he came back into the game early in the second half and wound up playing 13:51 and connecting on two three-pointers.
- Garrison Brooks is having one of the more impressive offensive stretches in recent memory. Tonight’s 26 points give him six straight games of scoring 20-plus points and four straight games of scoring 25-plus points. His ups and downs at the free throw line have been well documented, but in this four game stretch Brooks is shooting 82.2 percent (37-for-45). Tonight’s double-double is his’ 12th on the year. Nine of Brooks’ 13 rebounds were offensive.
- There was question whether Armando Bacot would be able to play tonight. He not only started, but had one of his most efficient outings of the season. Foul trouble and the lingering ankle injury limited Bacot to 23:2j3 of playing time, but in that time scored 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting and had 12 rebounds (including six offensive). Bacot’s double-double gives him 10 this season, the second most ever by a Carolina freshman (Antawn Jamison had 13).
- Tonight was just the second game all season in which Cole Anthony didn’t achieve double-digits in the scoring column. Anthony had a bit of a rough night, due in large part to Duke’s defense. After multiple strong performances in a row, Anthony tried to win the game too much on his own tonight rather than involving his teammates. Such has been the case for many freshmen in their first game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
- By no means should Anthony get all the blame. As a team, Carolina only achieved seven assists, the second lowest total this season. Far too often in the first half, the Heels let Duke goad them into taking jump shots rather than taking advantage of opportunities inside the paint.
- Christian Keeling’s streak of nine straight games of scoring nine-plus points ended tonight as the grad transfer was only able to connect on one of his six shot attempts.
- It was a strange rebounding night. Carolina won the overall battle 38-37, but exactly half of their rebounds were offensive. As you would imagine, the offensive glass kept Carolina close for much of the game.
- After shooting over 40 percent from three each of the past two games, the Heels cooled off to just 33.3 percent (4-for-12) tonight. Conversely, Duke’s hot shooting from deep (10-for-21) provided a big advantage for the home team.
- Each team’s first possession provided an inauspicious outlook for the rest of the game. On Duke’s first possession, Cole Anthony fouled Tre Jones just 16 seconds into the game. On Carolina’s first possession, Anthony turned the ball over after driving too far into traffic.
- Duke outscored Carolina 19-to-5 in fast break points, several of which came on plays where the Blue Devils just plain outran the last line of Tar Heel defense for an easy lay-up.
- For all the good things ESPN does, some of their production decisions are confounding. For example, why are we seeing a split screen of “94 Feet With Jay Bilas” during game action? This occurred from 11:59-11:18 of game action plus two Bacot free throws at the end of that time. People are tuned in to see the game, not hear a recap of a filler segment. It’s fine to show things like this, but don’t move away from game action for this.
- Along a similar line (and it’s hard to say if this is a Jay Bilas issue, a referee issue, or some of both), on two different occasions in the game, Bilas said, “I don’t think that would have been a foul if the shot had gone in.” I get the humanity of officials, but it’s either a foul or it isn’t and officials should adjudicate the game as such.
- The final 3:50 of the first half was an exercise in “don’t-let-Duke-build-too-much-of-a-lead-with-all-five-starters-on-the-bench”. At 3:50, Leaky Black picked up his second foul so he and Bacot (who already had two fouls) checked out. At 2:26, Brooks picked up his second foul and headed to the bench. At 1:42, Robinson got hurt and went straight to the locker room. Finally, with 0:56 left, Anthony picked up his second foul. So with four starters on the bench with two fouls and the fifth in the locker room injured, the lineup of Jeremiah Francis, Christian Keeling, Andrew Platek, Justin Pierce, and Walker Miller finished the first half. They played those 56 seconds to a 2-2 tie.
- Justin Pierce drew another offensive foul tonight. Those types of hustle plays have been his biggest contribution to the 2019-20 Tar Heels.
- We now turn our attention to do-or-die time in the ACC Tournament. We are to that strange part of every season where the next game could be the last.
Roy Williams postgame press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is the first round of the ACC Tournament. Carolina has the 14 seed and will play Virginia Tech on Tuesday, March 10. Tip is at 7:00pm ET on ACC Network.
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Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 98-96 home overtime loss to Duke on Saturday night.
- I sit here on my couch five hours after the game ended and I am still numb. I am still confused. I am still heartbroken. None of that compares to how the players and coaches must be feeling.
- Bottom line: if you hit your free throws you win this game. Overall, Carolina went 21-for-38 (55.3 percent) at the free throw line. The most painful thing is that the Heels made just five of 10 in the final 1:11 of regulation. If the Heels make any of those five misses, Tre Jones is never in the position to potentially send the game to overtime.
- Speaking of that end-of-regulation scenario, how (painfully) ironic that it was nearly identical to the end of the Clemson game? Against Clemson, Carolina forgot to foul up three in the waning seconds and gave up the game-tying three. Against Duke, Carolina did foul (maybe a little too quickly) and everything went the Blue Devils’ way to force overtime.
- Sticking with free throws, you really have to feel for Garrison Brooks. He went 0-for-7 against Boston College. If he makes any of those, Carolina wins. Tonight he went 0-for-5 (including missing the front end of a 1-and-1. If he makes any of those, Carolina wins. Outside of the missed free throws and five turnovers, Brooks played a really strong game. He shot efficiently (9-for-12 for 18 points) and played solid defense on Player of the Year candidate Vernon Carey.
- Guess how many shots Garrison Brooks took over the final 8:50 of regulation and the 5:00 of overtime? TWO (And both were off broken plays. On the first, Pierce randomly found Brooks in the lane when he got trapped on the baseline. On the second, Brooks received the ball in a late shot clock situation and had to hoist a shot. There were ZERO times when he received an intentional post feed in a scoring position, which had worked so well earlier in the game.
- How many times has it happened this year? Carolina builds up a double-digit lead, only to fumble it away at the line or with late turnovers. Tonight, the Heels led by 13 with 3:55 left, 10 with 2:10 left, seven with 1:11 left and five points with 20 seconds left in overtime. It’s like there’s this one missing piece, this one play and if Carolina could just get that they would come out on top.
- Okay, let’s talk about some positive things. We must turn the tide. Christian Keeling is having his best stretch as a Tar Heel. Against Florida State and Duke, two of the best three teams in the ACC, he has scored double digits back-to-back for the first time all season. In those two games he has hit 10 of his 17 shots, two of three three-pointers, and all five of his free throws.
- Fellow grad transfer Justin Pierce also had a good night, scoring 11 points. The two combined for 24 points in their first ever Duke game.
- Pierce scored five straight points for Carolina in what looked like it would be the most important stretch and turning point of the game prior to the outcome being what it was. With 1:51 left before halftime and Carolina clinging to a four point lead, Armando Bacot picked up his second foul and went to the bench to join Garrison Brooks and Leaky Black in the two-foul club. Seldom used Walker Miller came in to guard Vernon Carey, who already had amassed 16 points. In those 111 seconds, Carolina stretched the lead to nine (plus-five in this span) with a line-up of Cole Anthony, Christian Keeling, Justin Pierce, Andrew Platek, and Walker Miller. Each team had three possessions. Duke missed a three, hit two free throws (Carey), and had a turnover. Carolina had a Pierce lay-up, a Pierce three, and a Platek (incredibly athletic double-pump) lay-up. Holding off Duke in this stretch to close out the front half (and instead expanding the lead) should have been a huge deal, but instead it will be shelved right alongside Marcus Paige’s three in the 2016 National Championship game. Here’s Platek’s lay-up:
- Also lost to history will be Brooks’ block on Cassius Stanley with seven seconds remaining in regulation to stop Stanley from tying the game. In the moment, it felt like a game-saving play. Sadly it will just be a footnote.
- Despite all three of Brooks, Bacot, and Black having two first half fouls, the Heels managed the foul trouble (mostly) wisely and none fouled out in regulation (although Bacot and Black both did in overtime). In his postgame comments, Bacot lamented that he could have secured one of the free throw rebounds had he been in the game. Roy Williams pointed out that Leaky’s defense on Tre Jones would have been beneficial when Jones put the Duke team on his back.
- Let’s go back to Walker Miller. What must have been going through his head when Bacot fouled out, Brooks was back in the locker room with an injury and he had to step to the free throw line in a tie, overtime situation against Duke? Miller made one of two (although the first nearly dropped as well) to give the Heels a one-point lead which would not be relinquished until the final six seconds of overtime.
- Duke landed the first punches in overtime, taking a five-point lead just one minute into the extra session. While it appeared the Heels might be out of gas, they responded with an 11-1 run to take a five point lead with 20 seconds left. Unfortunately they never scored again and the Blue Devils reeled off seven straight for the final 98-96 tally.
- You never want to blame the refs (especially when you miss 17 free throws), however the previously mentioned Duke 7-0 run was helped by an egregious no-call with 12 seconds left and Carolina up one. Brooks inbounded the ball to Platek, who was bumped, resulting in the ball going out of bounds and being awarded to Duke. So rather than shooting two free throws with 12 seconds left and leading by one (with a chance to go up by three), Carolina had to defend, which lead to the game-winning play. Here’s the no-call:
- Andrew Platek will be quite frustrated with himself for shooting 1-for-4 from the free throw line at the end of regulation and feel like he cost the team the game, but he did some great things. Earlier in the second half, he hit both parts of a one-and-one. On two important plays in the second half, he doubled on Carey, who spun right into the waiting Platek. The first occurrence resulted in a Duke turnover. The second time Carey bulldozed Platek and picked up his fifth foul.
- As strange as it sounds, Vernon Carey fouling out was a blessing in disguise for Duke. The freshman big man scored 18 in the first half, but had as many points as I did in the second half (zero). He fouled out with Carolina up 13 (77-64) and over the course of the final four minutes of regulation, Duke outscored the Heels 20-7. Carey’s absence opened up the floor for Duke to attack off the dribble, which they did at will.
- So many good things to be said about what happened in the first 37-38 minutes of the game. Carolina played with intensity. They moved the ball well: assists on 10 of the first 14 field goals. They had a balanced scoring attack: seven Tar Heels scored multiple baskets in the first half and five finished in double-figures. They gang rebounded: seven players had four or more rebounds. Every time Duke punched or threatened, Carolina answered. They were disruptive on defense. Bacot ran the floor really well. On more than one occasion, I uttered: “That’s a Carolina fast break!” Here’s a great example of one of those fast breaks (Kendall Marshall pitch-ahead style):
- Cole Anthony felt like he was more in the flow of the offense tonight. There was more cohesion. He took fewer shots, made a higher percentage of those shots, got more teammates involved, grabbed 11 rebounds, and hit nine of his 10 free throws. Of course he’s only played 12 college basketball games, so he still made some freshman mistakes. One in particular came with 2:00 left in regulation. Carolina was up nine and Duke applied pressure. Anthony got sped up and didn’t pull the ball back out when he got across the timeline to run some clock, but rather pushed on towards the basket for a difficult and contested lay-up. Duke quickly converted the miss into a three-pointer. Down to a six-point lead with 1:45 to go. From there the game turned into the parade to the free throw line, which we already know how that turned out.
- As has happened seldom this year, the Tar Heels both hit the 80-point plateau (and in fact scored a season high 96) and achieved a 50 percent field goal success rate. In fact, the first half Carolina shot 59 percent and scored 44 points (the most Duke had given up in a first half this season).
- Leaky Black played a solid and diverse game before fouling out. He finished with eight points, seven rebounds, and a career-high nine assists; just a few plays shy of a double-double. Black also seems to have a knack for hitting the first shot of the game. He’s done so multiple times this season, and did so again tonight.
- Something to keep an eye on: Tonight we saw Leaky Black play some point guard, and Cole Anthony slide over to shooting guard. Not sure if it will be a look Coach Williams employs more, but could be a good wrinkle in the offense.
- A painful number to see: Carolina led the game for 41:50. Duke led for just 1:47. The game was also tied for 1:23.
- Just to say it again: Carolina had a double-digit lead as late as 2:07. Very (very) eerily similar to the Clemson loss.
- Joel Berry was honored at halftime tonight and his jersey hung in the rafters. Great to have him in the house for a game where his late-game sure-handedness and clutch free throw making ability would have come in handy. Here’s video of the halftime ceremony:
Roy Williams postgame press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a road game against Wake Forest on Tuesday, February 11. Tip is at 8:00pm ET on ACC Network.
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Updated: March 31, 2019 | 1:00pm
The end of the college basketball season carries with it the beginning of underclassmen declaring their NBA Draft intentions.
With the ability of underclassmen to go through the pre-draft process and combine, gaining valuable insight from NBA scouts without relinquishing their college eligibility, the list of those declaring for the NBA Draft grows by the year. Note that NCAA players can declare and withdraw from the draft twice without forfeiting their college eligibility.
Players have until 11:59 pm ET on April 21 to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. Players who hire an agent immediately forfeit their remaining collegiate eligibility (although plans are in the works and waiting to be ratified by the NBA and NBPA which would allow undrafted players to retain college eligibility after going through an Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation). Players who don’t hire an agent have until May 29 (10 days after the NBA Draft Combine ends) to withdraw and return to college.
Players are divided into one of the following four lists and will be updated regularly as new information becomes available:
- Those who are IN THE DRAFT (have declared for the draft and signed [or intend to sign] with an agent)
- Those who are TESTING THE WATERS (have declared for the draft but not signed with an agent)
- Those who are RETURNING TO COLLEGE (have declared their intention to return to school and not enter the draft)
- Those who we are still WAITING TO HEAR FROM (have NBA potential but have not announced a decision one way or the other)
Each declaration is painstakingly researched to make sure you are supplied with the most up-to-date and accurate player information. You won’t find any “according to a source” in this article. Accompanying each player, you’ll find a hyperlink to his declaration, a press release from the school or other official announcement.
IN THE DRAFT
** = Hiring agent while maintaining college eligibility
- Bol Bol | Oregon | Freshman | C | 7’2” | 235lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Ky Bowman | Boston College | Junior | G | 6’1” | 188lb | Link
- Yoeli Childs | BYU | Junior | F | 6’8” | 225lb | Link
- **CJ Elleby | Washington State | Freshman | F | 6’6” | 200lb | Link
- Daniel Gafford | Arkansas | Sophomore | F | 6’11” | 233lb | Link
- Darius Garland | Vanderbilt | Freshman | G | 6’2” | 175lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Dewan Hernandez | Miami | Junior | F | 6’11” | 236lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Amir Hinton | Shaw (D2) | Junior | G | 6’5” | 190lb | Link
- Romeo Langford | Indiana | Freshman | G | 6’6” | 215lb | Link
- Nassir Little | North Carolina | Freshman | F | 6’6” | 220lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Skylar Mays | LSU | Junior | G | 6’4” | 200lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Jalen McDaniels | San Diego State | RS Sophomore | G | 5’9” | 160lb | Link
- Ja Morant | Murray State | Sophomore | G | 6’3” | 175lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Miye Oni | Yale | Junior | G | 6’6” | 210lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Shamorie Ponds | St. John’s | Junior | G | 6’1” | 180lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Isaiah Reese | Canisius | Junior | G | 6’5” | 185lb | Link
- Naz Reid | LSU | Freshman | F | 6’10” | 250lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Simi Shittu | Vanderbilt | Freshman | F/C | 6’10” | 240lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Tremont Waters | LSU | Sophomore | G | 5’11” | 175lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Coby White | North Carolina | Freshman | G | 6’5” | 185lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Lindell Wigginton | Iowa State | Sophomore | G | 6’2” | 189lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Kris Wilkes | UCLA | Sophomore | G | 6’8” | 215lb | Link 1| Link 2
TESTING THE WATERS
* = Waiting on confirmation of declaration
- Bryce Aiken | Harvard | Junior | G | 6’0” | 175lb | Link
- *Tyus Battle | Syracuse | Junior | G | 6’6” | 205lb
- Jordan Bone | Tennessee | Junior | G | 6’3” | 180lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Oshae Brissett | Syracuse | Sophomore | F | 6’8” | 210lb | Link
- Charlie Brown, Jr. | Saint Joseph’s | RS Sophomore | F | 6’7” | 199lb | Link
- Steven Enoch | Louisville | RS Junior | C | 6’10” | 260lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Talen Horton-Tucker | Iowa State | Freshman | G | 6’4” | 233lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Nathan Knight | William & Mary | Junior | F/C | 6’10” | 245lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Sagaba Konate | West Virginia | Junior | F | 6’8” | 250lb | Link
- Jaylen Nowell | Washington | Sophomore | G | 6’4” | 200lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Jordan Nwora | Louisville | Sophomore | F | 6’7” | 225lb | Link
- Reggie Perry | Mississippi State | Freshman | F | 6’10” | 245lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- *Jontay Porter | Missouri | Sophomore | F | 6’11” | 240lb
- Myles Powell | Seton Hall | Junior | G | 6’2” | 195lb | Link 1 | Link 2
- Samir Sehic | Tulane | RS Junior | F | 6’9” | 235lb | Link
- Derrik Smits | Valparaiso (Transfer) | RS Junior | C | 7’1” | 240lb | Link 1| Link 2
- Jimmy Whitt, Jr. | SMU | Junior | G | 6’3” | 175lb | Link
RETURNING TO COLLEGE
- John Petty | Alabama | Sophomore | G | 6’5” | 197lb | Link
- LaMont West | West Virginia (transferring to Missouri State) | Junior | F | 6’8” | 222lb | Link
WAITING TO HEAR FROM
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker | Virginia Tech | Sophomore | G | 6’5” | 205lb
- Udoka Azubuike | Kansas | Junior | C | 7’0” | 270lb
- Geo Baker | Rutgers | Sophomore | G | 6’4” | 180lb
- RJ Barrett | Duke | Freshman | F | 6’7” | 202lb
- Charles Bassey | Western Kentucky | Freshman | F | 6’11” | 245lb
- Darius Bazley | 1 year removed from high school | F | 6’9” | 200lb
- Marques Bolden | Duke | Junior | C | 6’11” | 250lb
- Brian Bowen | Sydney Kings (Australia) | F | 6’7” | 190lb
- Ignas Brazdeikis | Michigan | Freshman | F | 6’7” | 215lb
- Jordan Brown | Nevada | Freshman | F | 6’11” | 210lb
- Moses Brown | UCLA | Freshman | C | 7’1” | 245lb
- Taeshon Cherry | Arizona State | Freshman | F | 6’8” | 210lb
- Brandon Clarke | Gonzaga | RS Junior | F | 6’8” | 215lb
- Tyler Cook | Iowa | Junior | F | 6’9” | 250lb
- Jarrett Culver | Texas Tech | Sophomore | G | 6’6” | 195lb
- Silvio De Sousa | Kansas | Sophomore | F | 6’9” | 245lb
- Luguentz Dort | Arizona State | Freshman | G | 6’4” | 215lb
- Ayo Dosunmu | Illinois | Freshman | G | 6’5” | 185lb
- Devon Dotson | Kansas | Freshman | G | 6’2” | 185lb
- Carsen Edwards | Purdue | Junior | G | 6’1” | 200lb
- Bruno Fernando | Maryland | Sophomore | F | 6’10” | 240lb
- Quade Green | Kentucky | Freshman | G | 6’1” | 170lb
- Quentin Grimes | Kansas | Freshman | G | 6’5” | 210lb
- Kyle Guy | Virginia | Junior | G | 6’2” | 175lb
- Rui Hachimura | Gonzaga | Junior | F | 6’8” | 230lb
- Ashton Hagans | Kentucky | Freshman | G | 6’3” | 192lb
- Jaxson Hayes | Texas | Freshman | F | 6’11” | 220lb
- Tyler Herro | Kentucky | Freshman | G | 6’5” | 195lb
- Jaylen Hoard | Wake Forest | Freshman | F | 6’8” | 215lb
- Daulton Hommes | Point Loma (D2) | Junior | G | 6’8” | 215lb
- Markus Howard | Marquette | Junior | G | 5’11” | 175lb
- De’Andre Hunter | Virginia | RS Sophomore | G | 6’7” | 225lb
- Ty Jerome | Virginia | Junior | G | 6’5” | 195lb
- Keldon Johnson | Kentucky | Freshman | G | 6’6” | 211lb
- Herbert Jones | Alabama | Sophomore | G | 6’7” | 206lb
- Tre Jones | Duke | Freshman | G | 6’2” | 183lb
- Braxton Key | Virginia | Junior | G | 6’8” | 225lb
- Louis King | Oregon | Freshman | F | 6’9” | 205lb
- VJ King | Louisville | Junior | G/F | 6’6” | 215lb
- Joshua Langford | Michigan State | Junior | G | 6’5” | 210lb
- Dedric Lawson | Kansas | RS Junior | F | 6’9” | 235lb
- Jalen Lecque | High School (5th Year Senior) | G | 6’4” | 190lb
- Kalob Ledoux | Louisiana Tech | Junior | G | 6’3” | 190lb
- EJ Montgomery | Kentucky | Freshman | F | 6’10” | 225lb
- Zach Norvell, Jr. | Gonzaga | RS Sophomore | G | 6’5” | 205lb
- Chuma Okeke | Auburn | Sophomore | F | 6’8” | 230lb
- KZ Okpala | Stanford | Sophomore | F | 6’9” | 215lb
- Lamar Peters | Mississippi State | Junior | G | 6’0” | 185lb
- Jordan Poole | Michigan | Sophomore | G | 6’5” | 195lb
- Kevin Porter, Jr. | USC | Freshman | G | 6’6” | 218lb
- Payton Pritchard Oregon | Junior | G | 6’2” | 195lb
- Danjel Purifoy | Auburn | Junior | F | 6’7” | 230lb
- Neemias Queta | Utah State | Freshman | C | 6’11” | 240lb
- Cam Reddish | Duke | Freshman | F | 6’8” | 218lb
- Paul Reed | DePaul | Sophomore | F | 6’9” | 210lb
- AJ Reeves | Providence | Freshman | G | 6’6” | 210lb
- Nick Richards | Kentucky | Sophomore | F | 6’11” | 244lb
- Isaiah Roby | Nebraska | Junior | F | 6’8” | 230lb
- Javonte Smart | LSU | Freshman | G | 6’4” | 200lb
- Jalen Smith | Maryland | Freshman | F | 6’10” | 215lb
- Xavier Sneed | Kansas State | Junior | F | 6’5” | 220lb
- Killian Tillie | Gonzaga | Junior | F | 6’10” | 220lb
- Nick Ward | Michigan State | Junior | F | 6’9” | 245lb
- PJ Washington | Kentucky | Sophomore | F | 6’8” | 228lb
- Nick Weatherspoon | Mississippi State | Sophomore | G | 6’2” | 195lb
- Austin Wiley | Auburn | Junior | C | 6’11” | 260lb
- Grant Williams | Tennessee | Junior | F | 6’7” | 236lb
- Zion Williamson | Duke | Freshman | F | 6’7” | 285lb
- Cassius Winston | Michigan State | G | 6’1” | 185lb
- Kenny Wooten | Oregon | Sophomore | F | 6’9” | 235lb
- Omer Yurtseven | Georgetown | Junior | C | 7’0” | 275lb
Remember to check back regularly as this article will be updated with each player announcement.
If you have updated information, please contact Isaac Schade (@isaacschade | email@example.com).
Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 88-72 road win over Duke on Wednesday night.
- How absolutely sublime that in a year when all anyone can talk about is Duke’s freshmen, it was Carolina’s senior leadership that won this game. Luke Maye finished with 30 points (his first 20-point game against Duke), 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two turnovers. Cameron Johnson had 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and zero turnovers. And while Kenny Williams didn’t have the scoring numbers, he drew three charges, had five rebounds, four assists, one steal and zero turnovers. Maye has scored 20+ in four of the last six games, while Johnson has 27 and 26 points in the last two.
- While the seniors had really strong games, the freshmen unfortunately struggled. Coby White finished with six turnovers and nine points, but on 3-for-14 shooting. He did corral five rebounds, dish out three assists and have two blocks. Nassir Little was essentially a non-factor and Leaky Black is still in street clothes.
- With the freshmen struggling, it was up to the juniors and sophomores to help out. With White struggling, Seventh Woods provided 12 strong minutes. He scored five points, drew a charge, passed out three assists and had two steals. One of those steals led to the vicious Garrison Brooks dunk right before halftime. Speaking of Brooks, he was the other unexpected scoring contributor – 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and two steals.
- The aforementioned Brooks dunk right before halftime was part of the most important sequence of the game. With 1:30 remaining before halftime, Duke cut the Carolina lead to five. Over the next 90 seconds, the Heels went on a 5-0 run to rebuild a double-digit lead. On two occasions early in the second half, Duke cut the lead back to nine, but the Heels led by double-digits for the remaining 18 minutes of the game. A week after Duke’s impressive comeback against Louisville, Carolina knew they had to keep playing. Every time Duke made a push, the Heels responded right back.
- If you told me before the game that Carolina was going to shoot 2-for-20 from three and that Coby White was going to shoot 3-for-14 and have six turnovers, I would have thought there was no way Carolina wins. This team has been so dependent upon the outside shot this year.
- Carolina wasn’t the only team to struggle from deep. The two teams combined to shoot 3-for-34 from three in the first half. Duke wound up shooting 8-for-39 for the game.
- Part of the reason Carolina was able to overcome those shooting woes was their points in the paint. The Heels scored 30 of their first 32 points in the paint (12 of which were second chance buckets). Duke allows 30.0 points in the paint per game this season. Carolina more than doubled that number, finishing with a whopping 62.
- And part of the reason Carolina was able to get those inside points was a knee injury to Zion Williamson less than a minute into the game. It’s unfortunate for the young man, who is a transcendent athlete. Hopefully he’ll be okay. It was obvious (with apologies to Tre Jones) that Williamson is the one who sets the defensive tone for Duke. Without him, the Blue Devils are extremely vulnerable defensively; particularly in the paint. The Williamson-less Blue Devils we saw tonight reminded me more of last year’s poor defensive team than the unit I’ve seen this year in Durham.
- An important factor in Williamson’s absence was the freedom it allowed Luke Maye. Maye, who would have had a much more difficult time navigating Williamson’s defense, quickly scored six points against the replacement (Jack White) and was then off and running to a 30-point game.
- Duke fans will say the injury cost Duke the game (and it certainly had a great impact), but the same could be said for Carolina’s game against Virginia last week. A game in which Carolina came much closer to winning than Duke did tonight. Even without Zion, Duke still has three of the top 10 freshmen (and two of the presumptive top-five NBA Draft picks) in the country. Plus, the game was played at Cameron (a.k.a. Hansbrough) Indoor Stadium.
- It’s so vitally important to get off to a good start on the road (see Carolina’s 18-0 opening against Wake on Saturday). The Tar Heels jumped on top early, never trailed and built a double-digit lead seven-and-a-half minutes into the game.
- 160 total points were scored in the game. Only 44 of those points (27.5 percent) were scored by someone not named Luke Maye, Cam Johnson, RJ Barrett or Cam Reddish.
- Carolina is now 7-0 in the ACC in road games. The remaining two are at Clemson and at Boston College. Only one team has ever gone 9-0 on the road in ACC play – Virginia in 2017-18.
- This was the 11th time in the Roy Williams / Mike Krzyzewski era that Carolina and Duke have met as top-10 opponents. After tonight’s win, Carolina now holds a 6-5 advantage in those games.
- With the win (and given the tiebreaker over NC State), Carolina is now guaranteed no worse than the seventh seed in the ACC Tournament, including a first round bye.
- The Heels are tied for first in the ACC with Virginia and Duke. Carolina’s next two games are against Florida State and Syracuse, the teams tied for fourth (and two games back in the loss column). The results of those two games will go a long way to determining who winds up with the top four seeds in the ACC Tournament (which comes with a first and second round bye). Carolina has the scheduling advantage of playing both these games in the Dean Dome.
- Carolina now has victories over two of the four current projected number one seeds (Duke and Gonzaga) and came a few plays away from a third (Virginia). Duke has two wins over Virginia, but, outside of that, the Tar Heels arguably own the best pair of wins in the country.
- Something to keep your eye on: Cam Johnson can’t seem to catch a break on the nagging injury front. This was the third game he’s missed part of because of an injury. Tonight he hurt his left ankle when stepping on a photographer four minutes into the second half. He came back in a couple minutes later and promptly hit a mid-range shot and later drew a charge. However, he appeared to re-tweak the ankle in the last minute of the game. Hopefully Cam will be okay for the quick turnaround against Florida State on Saturday.
- Many celebrities were on hand for the game. Most notably was President Obama. Others included Spike Lee, Todd Gurley, Greg Olsen and Ken Griffey Jr.
Roy Williams postgame press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a home game against Florida State on Saturday, February 23. Tip is at 3:45ET on CBS.
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