- Trivia question years from now: Who scored the first basket in Carolina’s ACC Quarterfinal victory over Miami in Joel Berry and Theo Pinson’s senior year? Berry? No. Pinson? Nope. Luke Maye? Not even close. Cameron Johnson? Not a chance. Give up? That’s right, it was none other than Mr. Seventh Woods.
- Why did Woods score the first basket of the night? Because after missing their first 12 shots of the game, Coach Williams pulled all five starters and replaced them with Woods, Andrew Platek, Brandon Robinson, Garrison Brooks, and Sterling Manley. Silver lining: these extra minutes from the bench allowed the starters to play fewer minutes.
Stepping up when your number is called 👉 @Kingsev_803, @PlatekFor3, @BRob_4, @Sterling_Manley, and Garrison#WhyNot #CarolinaSZN pic.twitter.com/hLZdHLq5X3
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 9, 2018
- All told, Miami scored the first 14 points of the game. Carolina missed their first 13 shots, over half of which (seven) were three point attempts. Woods’ bucket came with 12:51 remaining in the first half.
- The good news is that after Miami’s opening 14-0 run, Carolina went on their own 19-4 run to take a 19-18 lead. That stretch certainly didn’t win the game for the Heels but it allowed them to keep close enough contact that the game wouldn’t turn into a rout for the Hurricanes.
- Pinson is playing out of his mind right now. He set another career high in points (25) on an efficient 9-12 shooting. He recorded his third double-double in four games. He scored in double figures for the eighth game in a row. He has hit seven of his last 11 threes. Oh yes, and this also happened:
- Don’t look now, but the Heels are playing defense. After forcing multiple shot clock violations Wednesday night against Syracuse, Carolina forced another just minutes into this game. On three other occasions in the first half Miami had to take a desperation shot as the shot clock buzzer went off. In the two ACC Tournament games, the Heels have held their opponents to 46-133 shooting (34.6 percent) and have allowed an average of 62 points.
- Maye and Berry are both struggling with their shooting touch. In the past three games Berry has made just three of 20 three-point attempts and shot 9-34 overall from the field. Maye went 1-15 against Miami, including 0-5 from three, but did grab 13 rebounds. For the season, Maye has 336 rebounds; 16th most all-time in a single season for a Carolina player. Additionally, Berry’s 11 points move him into 15th on the all-time Carolina scoring list.
- You hate to see both players laboring to do what they do best, but it is an encouraging sign that Carolina can beat a top-25 team even when their top two scorers shoot 5-29 from the floor.
- Of major concern were second half injuries to both Berry and Johnson. Berry twisted his ankle (here we go again!) and Johnson hurt his hip when a Miami player landed on him. Those moments have 2012-level devastation potential (John Henson, Kendall Marshall) written all over them. The ACC Tournament is a struggle because you want to win if you are going to play, but you would also rather lose in this tournament than sustain injuries to key players. Here’s Johnson talking about his hip injury:
- Of note: On Wednesday, Carolina was the only higher seed to win in the ACC Tournament. On Thursday, Carolina was the only lower seed to win in the ACC Tournament.
- You’ll recall that in Miami’s victory over the Heels last week, they shot 12-13 from the free throw line even though they are the worst free throw shooting team percentage-wise in the ACC. These numbers regressed to the mean on Thursday night, with the Canes shooting just 7-13.
- Ja’Quan Newton, he off the winning three-point basket last week despite having made only four previous threes on the season, made another desperation three for Miami tonight. Fortunately, this one was a shot clock buzzer and not an end of game buzzer beater for a Miami win.
- Brooks had a really productive second half, scoring all five of his points around the midpoint; including a big boy dunk. In fact, the bench, which the Heels desperately needed production from, score 20 points, nearly 25 percent of the Carolina point total.
- Still trying to figure out why Miami was even in the general vicinity of Johnson when he took a desperation shot just before the halftime buzzer. The Hurricanes were whistled for a foul and Johnson made all three free throws, giving the Heels a one-point halftime advantage.
Walker fouls Cam Johnson at end of half because . . . ¯_(ツ)_/¯
- I am also still trying to figure out why Berry was whistled for a flagrant one. Oh I know what reason the refs said, but why was that flagrant-one-worthy? I get that we have to protect players, but that was just ludicrous. Not only that, but Berry got fouled on the play. Are you SERIOUS?!?!? We have to get this kind of ridiculousness under control.
Roy Williams post-game press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. The Tar Heels’ next game is against Duke on Friday, March 9 in the ACC Tournament Semifinals. Tip is at approximately 9:30ET on ESPN.