Lucas: Syracuse Quick Reactions – University of North Carolina Athletics

By Adam Lucas

1. It may not have looked so good on TV, but it was a very, very tough game to win in Syracuse. Carolina escapes with a 72-68 win and has now won 10 of 12.

2. RD Davis going to need this weekend. The Tar Heel guard bounced back all night, taking a bullet to the head and an injured finger, but still holding on to fire a crucial offensive foul in the closing seconds. Davis was still being worked out after the match by Tar Heel’s coaching staff.

3. Carolina’s passing in the first twelve minutes was exquisite. The Heels got an assist on the first ten baskets of the game and took the place of Syracuse. For the match, they finished with 20 assists out of 26 field goals. Davis and Caleb Love had five each.

4. Pete Nance was important towards the middle of this 2-3 zone. Nance found a weak spot, as many Carolina big men have, around the ACC logo near the free throw line. He wasn’t hugely effective, going 6-for-17, but he scored 21 points and was a dangerous offensive threat there as he showed the ability to shoot, drive or pass.

5. Nance also hit a clutch free throw with 21.4 seconds left, then reaped the benefits of heels hitting the offensive glass, as leaky black and Armand Bacot combined to force a loose ball that took off to Nance, who scored to give UNC the lead they didn’t give up.

6. Davis shooting the offensive foul will get attention, but he also played really good defense on Mintz on the previous possession, as the Orange very clearly wanted Mintz to get a shot. He finally got it, but Davis bothered him enough that it was a miss.

7. A few good minutes of Tyler Nickel off the Carolina bench. Nickel played 12 minutes and hit a three-pointer and had a very strong block on Mintz that thwarted a fast Syracuse break. The Tar Heel bench continues to rotate in players who, game after game, find a way to contribute – and it’s someone different every night.

8. Caleb Love’s shooting looked much better in the first half, when he made three three-pointers. Love took just seven field goal attempts and scored 15 points. He also made six trips to the free throw line, making four. He wasn’t looking for his shot much in the second half, but given the talk of his attacking aggressiveness, it’s hard to complain about not shooting. He also made three of four key free throws with less than 11 seconds left.

9. Syracuse only managed three free throws, which is sure to be something to talk about. There were too many overly long-lasting reviews in this game, but the good thing was that the crew set the tone for what was and wasn’t going to be called early and mostly stuck with it. Many postal contacts went unreported, but remained that way overnight.

10. Carolina forced 17 turnovers from Cuse and turned it into 21 points. Nine of them came via UNC flights, including four from Nance.

11. Good times for some downtime. Caroline can hopefully get Johnson puff healthy (who missed a second game in a row with a knee injury) and now has to deal with RD Davis. The Heels won’t play again until a home date with Pitt on Feb. 1.

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