Lucas: Rapid Responses from Syracuse – University of North Carolina Athletics

Lucas: Rapid Responses from Syracuse – University of North Carolina Athletics

By Adam Lucas

1. It may not have come across very well on TV, but that was a very, very hard game to win in Syracuse. Carolina escapes with a 72-68 victory and has now won 10 out of 12.

2. RJ Davis will need that weekend off. The Tar Heel guard bounced around all night, taking a shot to the head and an injured finger, but still on his feet only to make a crucial offensive error in the closing seconds. Davis was still being worked on by the Tar Heel training staff after the match.

3. Carolina’s passing in the first ten minutes was exquisite. The Heels had an assist in the first ten baskets of the game and were in the process of dividing the Syracuse zone. Before the game, they finished with 20 assists on 26 field goals. Davis and Caleb love had five each.

4. Pete Nancy was important around the middle of that 2-3 zone. Nance found a soft spot, as many great Carolina men have, around the ACC logo at the free throw line. He wasn’t extremely efficient, going 6-for-17, but he did score 21 runs and was a dangerous offensive threat in that spot as he showed he could shoot, drive or pass.

5. Nance also hit a clutch free throw with 21.4 seconds remaining and then reaped the rewards of the Heels hitting the offensive glass, as Leaking black and Armando Bacot combined to force a loose ball that bounced to Nance, who scored to give UNC the lead they didn’t relinquish.

6. Davis drawing the offensive foul will get the most attention, but he also played a very good defense on Mintz on the previous possession, when the Dutch very clearly wanted Mintz to get a shot. He eventually got it, but Davis bothered him enough to miss it.

7. Few good minutes from Tyler nickel of the Carolina bank. Playing 12 minutes, Nickel hit a 3-pointer and had a very loud block on Mintz that thwarted a Syracuse quick break. The Tar Heel bank continues to run with players who, from game to game, find a way to contribute – and it’s someone different every night.

8. Caleb Loves shooting looked much better in the first half, when he scored three 3-pointers. Love took only seven field goal attempts and scored 15 points. He also made six trips to the free-throw line, making four. He wasn’t much looking for his shot in the second half, but given the chatter about how aggressive he usually is offensively, it’s hard to complain about him not shooting. He also made three of four important free throws with less than 11 seconds left.

9. Syracuse took only three free throws, which will certainly be a point of discussion. There were too many reviews that went on for too long on this game, but on a positive note, the crew set the tone for what would and wouldn’t be mentioned early and mostly stuck with it. Much mail contact went unchecked, but it remained that way throughout the night.

10. Carolina forced 17 Cuse turnovers to make it 21 points. Nine of those came via UNC steals, four of them from Nance.

11. Great time for some free time. Carolina can hopefully get it Puff Johnson healthy (who missed a second game in a row with a knee injury) and now has to take care RJ Davis. The Heels will not play again until a home date with Pitt on February 1.

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