Most teams need a little bit of glue. No, not the glue that’s used to keep the soles of Little League cleats from falling apart or that preschoolers use to create their Thanksgiving hand turkeys.
Basketball squads and schemes need "glue" for offenses to run, defenses to hold together and team chemistry to operate as it should.
For most of No. 3 UNC men’s basketball's 80-76 loss to the unranked Clemson Tigers — North Carolina's first home loss of the season — it's fair to say the Tar Heels looked like they were missing some glue. UNC junior wing Harrison Ingram said it was weird the team couldn't master its energy.
What were the Tar Heels missing? Sophomore guard Seth Trimble was ruled out earlier in the day with an upper body injury. But is Trimble the glue for UNC, or did the Tar Heels just have an off game?
North Carolina produced 76 points on offense with graduate center Armando Bacot and senior guard RJ Davis both recording over 20 points and Ingram notching double digits. UNC's leading scorers were, well, scoring.
Something else was wrong. His teammates said they missed Trimble on the court.
“[His loss] was huge, his energy — how great he defends — is infectious on the team and definitely gets us going,” Bacot said. “Those moments when we go down, we need somebody to get us going and defend hard, and we didn't have him today."
Since the beginning of the season, Trimble has evolved into sixth man for the Tar Heels, becoming a key piece in defensive lineups and being first off the bench to be subbed in by head coach Hubert Davis.