Following the North Carolina men's basketball team’s narrow 72-66 win over Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, head coach Hubert Davis called out a seeming lack of motivation from his team.
“I really felt like at the beginning of the year that there would be a hunger and a thirst,” he said. “I was excited about it because I felt like it was coming from different directions, different viewpoints.”
One of those new directions was from graduate transfer forward Pete Nance, who finally found his footing wearing Carolina blue on Tuesday.
Nance came out of the gate with a high intensity, scoring 14 of UNC’s first 18 points, and by the time the buzzer sounded at the end of the first half, he had 16 points, four rebounds and three blocks — all season-highs for him in a young campaign.
“I was glad I was able to get some shots to fall,” he said. “I’ve been trying to shoot with confidence and it’s good to see the work pay off and have some shots go in for me.”
However, Nance's teammates didn't have as much success, shooting 4-for-24 in the half. The eight other players who registered minutes in the first half only scored a combined 10 points.
But even Nance found himself with a lack of hunger at times. In the second half, Nance only shot the ball twice, attributing this deficiency to playing within the flow of the game as well as battling foul trouble for most of the night.
“Obviously I picked up some fouls and was off the floor a good majority of the second half,” Nance said. “It wasn’t a conscious decision (to not shoot the ball) and all that mattered to me in the end was that we won.”
Junior guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis picked up his slack after the break, helping the Tar Heels offensively, as well as on the boards.