Wake Forest nearly broke UNC’s season Tuesday night (and they still may have). The Deacons were simply beating UNC senseless for much of the game.
Wake just beat UNC up one side and down the other for about 30 minutes before the Heels, to their credit, rallied to make it a game.
This team is really having some issues. The Heels went deep into the game with just one three pointer - at one point they were shooting just 8 percent on threes. Caleb Love, who was atrocious in the first half, hit three in the last minute. He drives his coaches and teammates crazy because he can shoot you out of a game in no time, but he also has a clutch instinct, as we’ve noted more than once.
That said, he also took a very stupid three that cost the Heels late.
UNC had a credible comeback and if this team were together, they might have pulled it off. A 25 point comeback would have been spectacular, legendary even, and possibly could have changed the trajectory of the whole season.
But it didn’t happen.
Armando Bacot fouled out fairly early in the second half, but we saw the same thing at Wake that we saw in Cameron: his teammates somehow forgot about him.
In his last three games, RJ Davis has hit 20 percent, 31.3 percent and now 25 percent of his shots against the Demon Deacons.
Who knows why, but he’s a gutty player and we’d trust him more than Love: Love fired up 25 shots Tuesday night and hit just nine and a number of those quite late.
After the Duke loss, Jeremy Roach said the Heels weren’t communicating on defense. It’s a good observation, but that might be a symptom rather than the ultimate problem. Hubert Davis appears to have some real problems on his hands because this team has talent. Pretty clearly, for whatever reason, it’s not meshing. The chemistry is just bad right now.
After the game, Bacot told the media that he drew a line in the sand with his teammates: “...I just told everybody, ‘I’m not gonna quit. If you want to be here, be there on Thursday. If not just go home.’”
Speaking of Davis, he was upset after the Duke game because of the foul discrepancy. He has more critical fish to fry right now, but we’re not sure we’ve ever seen a stat like this one:
UNC had 26 trips to the free throw line. Tyree Appleby had 28 attempts. By himself.
Appleby is really good, but not that good. We could see a powerful big man like, say, LSU’s Shaquille O’ Neal doing that, but a 6-1 guard? He’s a big asset for Wake, but it’s not like he’s really seen as a major NBA prospect. He’s played for four years already, five counting one redshirt season, and transferred twice.
Wake had 42 total free throws, which, again, will probably irritate Davis once he picks his way through the radioactive fallout from this one.
Appleby finished with 35 points and 11 assists.
Virginia did that Virginia thing to NC State, limiting the Pack to 50 points and just 19-57 for 33.3 percent from the floor. About 47 percent of State’s attempts were threes, and hit just 8-27 of those.
DJ Burns, who has had some wonderful moments, got in foul trouble and played just 21 minutes. Terquavion Smith shot just 7-20. Former Cavalier Casey Morsell, who should understand Virginia’s D like few other ACC players, did shoot 6-11 and 4-6 on threes.
State has a pretty feral defense and they nearly shout out Aarman Franklin, limiting him to just two, and held Kihei Clark to six. But Reece Beekman, who looks like a future pro, finished with 15 points and also had three steals.
But Jayden Gardner finished with 18 and Kaeden Shedrick, who was benched a few games ago and has been pretty ineffective, scored 10 points and had six boards.
Someone should check with Davis on this, too: Virginia had 24 attempts from the line to NC State’s seven.
We said we didn’t see any way Louisville could compete with Pitt and that was exactly right:
The Cardinals kept up - for about seven and a half minutes. Then the lead just widened and widened, growing to 38 late.
The Panthers made an impression on Cards coach Kenny Payne who said “[w]e’ve played a lot of good teams in this conference, guys I’m just here to tell you that probably the most complete and toughest team that we’ve faced in this conference is Pittsburgh. Tough, fight, can score, can score a multitude of ways, they share the ball, they talk on defense.”
There’s not much positive for the Cardinals here, but keep an eye on this: Emmanuel Okorafor, the Nigerian big man who joined the team very recently, got 20 minutes. It may or may not pay off this season, but he’s getting reps.
No more games until Saturday, but there is a potentially fascinating game there as Clemson visits UNC. The Tar Heels would be favored if things were more normal, but Clemson is everything they’re not: they play hard and together and never give up.
Favoring Clemson in that comparison would have been unthinkable not too long ago.
It’s just the truth.
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