This season has proven to be slightly bumpy for the North Carolina men’s basketball team so far.
Coming back from a two-game losing streak in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament, the Tar Heels responded by returning to the Dean E. Smith Center to defeat UNC Asheville, 72-53, on Tuesday.
UNC exploded in the first half of the game, and at one point, built a 22-point lead. This hot start allowed the Tar Heels to maintain control for the remainder of the half, as they entered the break up 37-24.
Despite the early success, the Tar Heels came out sluggish after halftime. Turnovers piled up, as UNC Asheville scored 19 points off UNC’s mistakes. After the Tar Heels failed to score for the first few minutes, the Bulldogs began to make a comeback, and the once imposing deficit was trimmed to seven with just over 12 minutes to play.
Although the Bulldogs made their bid to keep things interesting, UNC’s defense locked in until the offense was able to regain its footing. For the game, the Tar Heels held UNC Asheville to 26.5 percent shooting, including only 18.9 percent from behind the arc.
Sophomore guard Caleb Love said he noticed improvement in the team’s defense, but said there is still work to do on offense.
“Defensively, I feel like we definitely took a step forward today, we just have to put up a full 40 minutes on that end,” Love said. “Offensively, we just have to run our stuff a little harder and stick to the principles of what coach says.”
After suffering two tough losses over the weekend, the win against UNC Asheville seemed to be a step in the right direction, but the Tar Heels still have a long way to go before they can be the team they want to be moving forward.
“We should’ve beat them by a lot more than we did,” graduate forward Brady Manek said. “I don’t know what it is, but we got to get better.”