The North Carolina Tar Heels traveled to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the first ACC matchup for both teams. They both came into the game with a 5-2 record, looking to move up in the conference. With this game being the first conference match-up for both teams, there was a pretty good indication that was going to be a great game. North Carolina basketball was coming off of a much-needed win against Michigan to get on track.
This game saw the game tied at halftime, 31-31. North Carolina then went on a shooting clinic, making 10 of their 19 three-point attempts in the game. Georgia Tech brought the game within single-digits when they went to zone. North Carolina was able to work down low to break the zone and hit a couple more threes to win, 79-62.
North Carolina's Three-Point Shooting a Factor
One thing that seems to have been missing from recent North Carolina teams is their lack of three-point shooting. That trend seemed to taper off at the end of the year last season, with Kerwin Walton's emergence. One player who was going to have to be relied on to step up shooting this year though was RJ Davis. In this game, Davis shot 4-6 from the three-point line. Coming into this game, Davis' three-point percentage was 48%. He seemed to be the x-factor in this game, as he was making threes from deep to extend the defense. Along with Davis, Caleb Love and Brady Manek added three more made three-pointers.
Because of the emphasis of the long ball, Armando Bacot was able to work inside where he is at his best. Bacot finished the game with 15 points on 7-11 shooting and bringing down 13 rebounds. If the guard play is good enough, like it was in this game, Bacot should be able to do anything he wants inside.
North Carolina Basketball Moving Forward
There is a lot to be excited about if you are a North Carolina player, fan or coach. The obvious is the three-point shooting, but North Carolina out-rebounded Georgia Tech, 32-19. Rebounding was always the point of emphasis for Roy Williams-coached teams, but that was yet to be proved under Hubert Davis. This game is a pretty good look into what the rest of the season might entail. Turnovers are still an issue with this team, as they turned the ball over 14 times. Love and Davis are sophomores, so it is somewhat expected. With better opponents on their schedule, limiting the turnovers will be the key to wins for the Tar Heels.
Looking ahead, North Carolina basketball will have to play Elon and Furman at home before hosting UCLA on December 18th. Keeping a consistent three-point shot and limiting turnovers for this Tar Heels team will be key for them to be able to compete at the top of the ACC this season.