Robinson remembered the conversation centered on getting “a great shot” and crashing the offensive boards afterward. The junior filled in and played the most meaningful minutes of his career since playing down the stretch against Tennessee early last season.
Maye, who extended his record to 4-0 against N.C. State in Raleigh, saw that moment no differently than the rest of the game. The senior from Huntersville put up 21 points and 11 rebounds — and led the Tar Heels with 15 first-half points.
Brooks said all the team talked about was “getting stops.” The sophomore, who put together an 11-point, 7-rebound performance, earned the praise of his teammates and head coach by hedging screens and contesting shots near the basket.
“I believe Garrison,” Roy Williams said when asked who his team’s best player was on Tuesday night. “I thought he was sensational defensively. He was five for five from the foul line, five assists, zero turnovers, 11 points. He’s not even one of the guys who had double figures in rebounds. I think Luke made some big time shots for us, Kenny made some big time shots. I think Coby was important on the offensive end, but I’d say Garrison.”
Over the course of the North Carolina men’s basketball team’s matchup with the Wolfpack on Tuesday night, Roy Williams saw one of the most frustrating performances from his team all season.
It was a roller coaster. He’d questioned his team’s toughness because of its woes turning the ball over in the same game he saw his team jump to a 12-0 opening run. UNC out-rebounded N.C. State, 51-33. Yet, in critical moments, N.C. State's offensive rebounds kept the Wolfpack within striking distance.
“I think I’m seeing turnovers in my sleep …” Roy Williams said. “I was really mad at them at one point in the first half because I thought we were way too soft. I mean, we had some turnovers that looked like we were the ninth grade basketball team at a bad school, and you can’t do that.”
But as much as the performance was frustrating, in certain ways, it was the best this team has played all year.
Maye was the go-to player for North Carolina in the first half. And for about 28 minutes of action, it seemed like he’d be the man all game, like he’d been in his previous two visits.
After his first 3-pointer of the game, he received the largest compliment this Wolfpack crowd could offer: a cacophony of boos.
But to Maye, it seemed like he was back home in the Smith Center, more than 20 miles away. If anything, the reaction sounded like the crowd was howling his first name.
“Yeah I've played pretty well here, and I think that's just a testament to just how hard I've worked,” he said.
And when he started missing shots, his team had his back.
“I don't think we have a guy,” Maye said. “I don't think Coach really says, 'Hey, go get the ball, make a play.' I think Coach wants us to run plays and make the best play, and that's what we did.”
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