RALEIGH — After witnessing the raw scoring abilities of Cat Barber for the first five minutes Wednesday night at PNC Arena, the No. 7 North Carolina men's basketball team managed to regroup and take a 38-33 lead into the half, thanks mainly to efficient scoring by Justin Jackson and lock-down defense on Barber by Theo Pinson.
Here are three things to know at the half:
Cat's hot start: Barber, who entered tonight leading the ACC in points per game (23.1), scored 16 points within the first eight minutes of the game. The 6-foot-2 junior made seven of his first nine shot attempts, good for 16 points at the 12:08 mark in the first half. Fortunately for UNC though, Barber cooled down after that — thanks in large part to Pinson — and has missed six shots since that point.
Jackson's offense: While Barber is a volume shooter for N.C. State (rightfully so), Jackson had an efficient first half offensively, shooting 6-of-9 from the field including 2-for-3 from the 3-point line. He led the Tar Heels with 14 points during the first half and has used his ability to slash and make floaters in the paint, in addition to stretching out beyond the arc to provide UNC with its best scoring option thus far.
Pinson's stifling defense: While Barber would have been hard-pressed to keep his hot shooting going throughout the entire game, Pinson has been a huge part of his lack of success to end the half, whether that was by helping a teammate or playing against the Wolfpack guard on his own.