North Carolina fell behind as much as seven and led by as much as six before the break. North Carolina entered halftime up 43-37.
In the second half, the Tar Heels experimented with an array of lineups, mixing in several different guard combinations — often resorting to one big man surrounded by four guards.
North Carolina went 15-30 from the field after the break and rode out solid second half performances from Joel Berry II (who ended with 27 points on 8-15 shooting) and Theo Pinson (who ended with six points and six rebounds).
Who stood out?
Brandon Robinson, as aforementioned, provided life off the bench for North Carolina. He proved able and willing to maneuver into the lane, finish among the trees, hit the floor and chase down long rebounds when the opportunities presented themselves.
Robinson supplied important minutes with senior guard Theo Pinson limited for much of the first half after committing his third foul with just under five minutes to play.
When was it decided?
Pinson, who had three fouls before the end of the first half, was able to play a significant role in the second half of the contest.
The senior engineered the turning point in the game with 9:24 remaining when he collected a rebound, traversed the entire court and finished an and one on the left side of the basket. The ensuing Tar Heel possession, Pinson was open on the right wing, drove into traffic and put on a creative finish at the rim — extending the Tar Heels’ lead to 14 points.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina proved that it could play small when it needed to. For proof: coming out of the under-four media timeout in the second half, head coach Roy Williams sent out Berry, Pinson, Maye, Jalek Felton and Kenny Williams.
The Tar Heels — who have traditionally struggled defending the three-point line — were able to weather the storm against a prolific outside shooting team in Davidson. The Wildcats went 14-33 from three for the game after starting the game 7-11 from deep.
When do they play next?
North Carolina returns to the Smith Center to take on Tulane at 2 p.m. on Sunday.