CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the Tar Heels' lead after Jeremy Werden's layup. The team led by seven points at that point. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Two plays defined the North Carolina junior varsity basketball team's win over Guilford College on Monday — and neither required two hands.
The first one was flashy. Early in the first half of UNC’s 74-55 victory, the Tar Heels lined up for what appeared to be a routine, under-the-basket inbounds pass, but they had other plans.
Sophomore guard Caleb Ellis ran around a screen and cut down the middle of the lane. Junior guard Kane Ma tossed up a soft lob, and Ellis threw it down with one hand.
It was executed to perfection. It brought North Carolina’s bench and the small crowd in the Smith Center to their feet. Even star varsity point guard Joel Berry II — who had stopped by to watch the JV team while he ate his takeout noodles from a Styrofoam to-go box — was impressed.
But this dunk still couldn’t hide the fact that North Carolina was struggling. The Tar Heels were missing open 3-pointers and even some open layups. They weren’t rebounding. Guilford College was hanging around.
Sophomore forward Devin Dukes would change that — he only needed one hand, too.
Head coach Hubert Davis called UNC’s final timeout with under a minute left in the first half. Junior guard Lucas Bouknight realized the magnitude of the situation.
“When we called our last timeout, we were up five points,” he said. “So, we really made it an emphasis to end the half on a run.”