Tar Heels blow big lead, hang on to win

North Carolina opened up a close game early in the second half, only to have to hang on for a hard-fought 72-66 victory over Gardner-Webb in Chapel Hill. (11/15) Powered by Pete Nance in the first half (16 points) and Caleb Love in the second half (17 points), Carolina was able to keep a fairly comfortable lead before giving up a couple of late baskets for the respectable final score for the Runnin’ Bulldogs. “I’m proud of the guys for persevering but I’m also frustrated in some areas,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. Coach Davis indicated that the Tar Heels, […]

North Carolina opened up a close game early in the second half, only to have to hang on for a hard-fought 72-66 victory over Gardner-Webb in Chapel Hill. (11/15)

Powered by Pete Nance in the first half (16 points) and Caleb Love in the second half (17 points), Carolina was able to keep a fairly comfortable lead before giving up a couple of late baskets for the respectable final score for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

“I’m proud of the guys for persevering but I’m also frustrated in some areas,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said.

Coach Davis indicated that the Tar Heels, with four returning starters, have not picked up where they left off last season. He has been disappointed with the effort and energy, saying he doesn’t remember his players coming up with a loose ball or hitting the offensive boards for instance.

“Heading into the season, I thought they would be hungry and thirsty,” Coach Davis said of his team. “But we’re going to have to do the little things better to be successful.”

Ahead just 26-22 at the half, Carolina got some breathing room with a 10-0 run in the first two and a half minutes of the second half.

Love led the way during the stretch with eight of those points and an assist on the other two to Bacot who dunked it home.

The Heels got out to their biggest lead of the game at 47-31 on a Leaky Black turn-around jumper in the lane at the 13:05 mark.

Carolina kept a double-digit lead until Gardner-Webb went on a 12-3 run over four minutes plus to pull to 61-56 with 2:40 to go.

The Heels pushed the lead back to double figures before a couple of late baskets, including a three at the final buzzer by the Bulldogs’ Anthony Selden, who scored a career-high 21 points.

Love led four Tar Heels in double figures with 20 while Nance added 18, Davis added 14 to go with a team-high 10 rebounds for the guard and Bacot finished with 10.

Carolina, 3-0, hosts James Madison Sunday afternoon.

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