In every game, there's a key objective — exploit the other team's weakness.
If you can expose that weakness, throwing it right back in your opponent’s face, you’re well on your way to victory. Sometimes, even their greatest strength can be turned into a weakness.
For the UNC men’s basketball team during its 88-65 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday night, that weakness was Yellow Jackets guard Michael Devoe.
Devoe is one of the ACC’s best scorers, coming second in the conference with an average of 20.5 points per game. Though Georgia Tech had only won one conference game this season, a second win would probably come alongside a marquee scoring performance from Devoe.
So, what did UNC head coach Hubert Davis’ team do to stop Devoe? Simple: They smothered the life out of him.
“With a guy like Devoe’s who’s just so dynamic with his scoring, you really just gotta make him uncomfortable,” senior wing Leaky Black said. “You gotta know that he’s gonna score every now and then, but you gotta make him work for it and make it difficult, and that’s what I tried to do.”
“Tried” is an understatement from Black, almost as understated as his role on the team recently. By Davis’s own admission, Black’s role this season has been simple — guard the best offensive player on the opponent’s team. And while that mainly-defensive duty has led to him having no shot attempts in three separate games this year — though he did score on Saturday — its importance shined against a crafty scorer like Devoe.
With Black all over him, Devoe was frustrated and out of options. By the end of the first half, all he had to show for his efforts was a rebound and a foul — not a single point.
And by game’s end? Two points on 1-of-5 shooting, including missing every three-pointer he took.