1. It wasn’t pretty, but Carolina did just enough to beat Gardner-Webb, 72-66.
2. Caleb Love caught fire coming out of halftime and provided the Tar Heels with a needed cushion. Love showed off his entire arsenal of offensive moves, including a couple of three-pointers, a Eurostep to the rim, a fadeaway baseline jumper and a midrange driving bank shot on his way to a game-high 20 points.
3. Carolina’s paint production and glass results remain a mystery. Tuesday night’s leading rebounder was…RJ Davis, who finished with ten, edging out Armando Bacot’s nine. Overall, the board battle was much closer than expected (40-38 in favor of Carolina). The Heels did do a better job keeping GWU off the offensive glass, as they permitted just eight offensive rebounds on 37 missed shots, a better percentage than they had coming into the evening.
4. Leaky Black made the 100th start of his career on Tuesday night. He has now played in 125 games as a Tar Heel. There are no official stats kept on who leads the games started category, because starts weren’t officially kept until the last 20 years. For the sake of comparison, Tyler Hansbrough started 141 games during his four years at Carolina. Black had seven points and four rebounds on Tuesday.
5. The first half is best summarized by: Pete Nance. Other than that, you didn’t miss much. The grad transfer hit five of his seven shots in the first 20 minutes and scored 16 points. That was a nice distraction from the fact that the rest of the team was 4-for-24. Nance finished with 18 before fouling out.
6. The offense wasn’t pretty, but it’s a safe bet Hubert Davis took specific note of the defense with his team during the halftime break. Five of Gardner-Webb’s ten made field goals in the first half were dunks, and they outscored the Tar Heels by a whopping 18-4 in the paint during that first period. Both of those stats are unacceptable numbers in a Tuesday night nonconference game, with more formidable competition looming. The final points in the paint tally: 30-14, Gardner-Webb. The Heels are likely to hear that number a few more times at practice the rest of this week.
7. Carolina also hasn’t kicked the running game into gear yet. They scored just two fast break points on Tuesday.
8. The Tar Heels had two bad possessions in a six-point game with five minutes left. One ended in a long RJ Davis missed three, and the next ended with a long missed Caleb Love three. That led to a Hubert Davis timeout for some substitutions, but Pete Nance was called for a dubious charging foul.
9. Justin McKoy gave Carolina some nice energy–on a night when they needed it–in the second half. McKoy, in his first action of the season, got on the floor for a loose ball and also grabbed a rebound in his six minutes.
10. McKoy is part of a bench from which Davis wants more production. The Bulldogs dominated the bench points category, 14-2. The only Tar Heel bench basket came from Seth Trimble late in the second half, and he also added a free throw with 18 seconds left. It’s pretty clear that Carolina’s rotations aren’t settled yet; Davis is still looking for someone to force their way permanently into the rotation.
11. Love needs 14 points on Sunday against James Madison to become Carolina’s 80th all-time 1,000 point scorer. That’s more entrants into that club than any program in college basketball.
12. Two positive notes: Carolina shared the ball better (eight assists on 23 baskets) than they have to this point in the season. And they also shot the ball marginally better from the three-point line, making eight after sinking just seven in two games combined to start the year. The bad news was that those eight makes came on 25 attempts (everyone other than Nance was 5-for-20), putting them at 32 percent for the game. The Heels likely believe they’re a better shooting team than that.