Carolina-UCLA in Las Vegas on Friday
Article Published by: goheels.com
1. In a tight, well-played game between two teams that were disappointed by their efforts on Thursday, Carolina got a nice 94-78 win over UCLA in Las Vegas.
2. UNC’s bench gave Roy Williams game-changing minutes in the second half. Especially with the trio of Brandon Robinson, Nassir Little, and Leaky Black, that group provided good energy and solid offensive contribution during a stretch when the game was in the balance and the Heels were dealing with injury (Luke Maye) and foul (Coby White, Garrison Brooks) issues. Little’s thunderous tomahawk dunk on Jalen Hill was a highlight reel play, but it was just one of several instances in that stretch when that group impacted the game.
3. Coby White was great on Thursday, scoring 33 points. He didn’t score as much on Friday, but his defense was better, and his stat line was almost equally impactful. The freshman had 19 points and a career-high eight assists.
4. Carolina had done a decent job of playing defense without fouling so far this season, but UCLA got in the bonus early and took advantage for most of the rest of the afternoon. The Bruins went 13-17 from the stripe in the first 20 minutes, while the Tar Heels made just seven trips to the line. At one point, Roy Williams implored his team, “Somebody get the ball inside!” as his squad too easily was settling for the first available shot rather than the first shot he actually wanted. In the second half, that trend reversed and the Tar Heels were more effective in getting to the line.
5. The Tar Heels did a good job of neutralizing UCLA’s Moses Brown, which was fortunate because the big man was effective in his spot minutes. The seven-footer had five points, a couple of rebounds, and altered multiple shots in his five first half minutes. But Carolina took the ball at him repeatedly and forced Steve Alford to put him on the bench, and then fouled him out with 7:40 remaining in the game. Brown played just eight minutes, scoring seven points.
6. Taking care of the basketball was a problem on Thursday, but UNC did a much better job in that category against UCLA, committing just six miscues. That gave the Bruins just 11 points off turnovers–20 fewer than Texas had in the first game.
7. With Cameron Johnson ineffective early, Brandon Robinson got ten minutes of playing time in the first half, above his season average for a game. Robinson had a big tip-in and grabbed a couple of rebounds while not committing a turnover.
8. Carolina was victimized by a last-second three pointer in the first half on Thursday that gave Texas some momentum (and the lead) going into the locker room. The Tar Heels tried to get some of that same mojo on Friday, as Cameron Johnson’s three-pointer broke an 0-5 performance for the graduate student and brought Carolina within five points. The intermission didn’t do anything to cool off Johnson, as he scored his team’s first nine points of the second half.
9. Speaking of Johnson, it was good to see Carolina’s seniors reemerge offensively. During one important second half stretch, seniors scored 17 straight points for the Tar Heels. Luke Maye had 16 points and eight rebounds, Johnson had 14, and Kenny Williams hit a pair of three-pointers and had 15. The 45 points for that trio equaled their season high for combined production (they also had 45 against Stanford).
10. If you liked Carolina-UCLA in Las Vegas on Friday, you’ll love it next year…when we do it all over again. The Tar Heels and Bruins are slated to meet in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 21, 2019. That game will be played at T-Mobile Arena (the more modern local venue and located on the Strip) instead of Orleans Arena.
11. A host of NBA scouts were in courtside positions at Orleans Arena. Something to keep in mind is that players respond in different ways when they are having what amounts to a job interview. There are often more factors in play in any given performance than just what you see on the court.
12. Overall takeaway from two games in Las Vegas against good competition: the Tar Heels can score. There’s progress to be made on the defensive end.
About Scott Livengood
Scott Livengood is the owner and CEO of Dewey’s Bakery, Inc., a commercial wholesale bakery with a respected national brand of ultra premium cookies and crackers.
Previously, Scott worked at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for 27 years, starting as a trainee in 1977. He was appointed President of the company in 1992, then CEO and Chairman of the Board.
Scott has served on numerous boards including the Carter Center, the Calloway School of Business and the Babcock School of Management, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.
He started a new business, StoryWork International, in 2016 with Richard Stone. The signature achievement to date is LivingStories, a story-based program for improved patient experiences and outcomes in partnership with Novant Health.