Carolina back in the win column, barely

North Carolina fell behind by 11 in the first half, came back to go up by 16 and wound up topping N.C. Central just 73-67 in a game added after Elon canceled due to COVID-19. (12/12) Early on, the visiting Eagles were flying high with drives to the hoop on offense and packing it in down low on defense, daring the Heels to shoot from the outside. With Carolina not hitting from outside, Central raced out to that 11-point lead. The Heels were able to get back in it and actually take a 30-28 halftime behind 15 points by big […]

North Carolina fell behind by 11 in the first half, came back to go up by 16 and wound up topping N.C. Central just 73-67 in a game added after Elon canceled due to COVID-19. (12/12)

Early on, the visiting Eagles were flying high with drives to the hoop on offense and packing it in down low on defense, daring the Heels to shoot from the outside.

With Carolina not hitting from outside, Central raced out to that 11-point lead. The Heels were able to get back in it and actually take a 30-28 halftime behind 15 points by big man Armando Bacot.

While the Tar Heels never trailed again, they couldn’t pull away until a 10-0 run midway through the second half. Senior Andrew Platek was the catalyst as he hit the Tar Heels first three-point shots of the game game on back-to-back trips down the court. After a finger-roll bucket by Platek, his eighth point in less than two minutes, Carolina was in command at 57-42.

With just over five minutes left, the Tar Heels led by 16, 63-47, after a pair of free throws from freshman Caleb Love.

The lead never got under double digits until the last minute when the Eagles hit a pair of threes to make the final score respectable.

UNC coach Roy Williams said that Bacot was about the only offense the Heels had in the first and that Platek was really big for Carolina, with those two big threes and good defensive work.

Day’ron Sharpe, who failed to score for the Tar Heels in the first half, scored 12 in the second as the inside game opened up a bit as Carolina shot better from outside.

“We have to shoot better from outside, otherwise why wouldn’t teams pack the paint,” Platek said. “My confidence has grown. I’m just going to keep shooting.”

Platek’s threes were the only ones the Tar Heels had on the day as they went just two of 15 on the day. But some outside twos in the second half opened things up nonetheless.

The big difference statistically came at the free throw line where the Tar Heels went to the line 31 times compared to just eight for the Eagles with Carolina outscoring them 25-7 from the line.

Carolina, now 4-2, had four players in double figures. Bacot led Carolina with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Love and Sharpe added 12. Platek finished with 11, just a bucket away from his career high.

UNC returns to action on next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. against Ohio State in Cleveland.

For a box score and more on the game, please click here.