After the North Carolina Tar Heels‘ matchup against Duke was postponed for a week later, they were forced to play four games in a span of eight days. Although this stretch was supposed to be difficult for the young team, they finished it undefeated after embarrassing Wake Forest earlier today by the score of 105-72.
During this four-game stretch, the Tar Heels defeated two ranked teams including Pittsburgh and Duke, and they have now solidified themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament. They went from the bottom of the ACC standings to the top, and they are for sure going to find themselves back in the AP Top 25 next week.
Today’s matchup against Wake Forest was a huge trap game considering the fact that they had just one day to prepare for it after defeating Duke. Also, the Tar Heels opened ACC play by losing to the Demon Deacons, so nobody really knew how they would come out against them in their second matchup of the season. Luckily, the new and improved Tar Heels team came out firing, and they dominated Wake Forest in all aspects of the game.
Every single player in the Tar Heels’ starting lineup scored in double-digits today, but they were led in scoring for the second-straight game by Leslie McDonald with 19 points. He has finally found his shot, which is a huge relief for Tar Heels’ fans considering he began the season shooting poorly from every spot on the court. In today’s game, McDonald scored 15 of his 19 points from beyond the arc, and if he can keep up this pace, then the Tar Heels will only go up from here.
Kennedy Meeks was second on the team in scoring with 15 points, despite having to come out of the game in the first half with an apparent knee injury. Luckily, he returned quickly and continue to dominate the Wake Forest big men throughout the entire game. James Michael McAdoo also helped dominate in the frontcourt with 11 points of his own in just 19 minutes of playing time, while Brice Johnson came off the bench and put up a solid 14 points. Johnson also led the team with five rebounds, and he was vital when it came to second-chance points.
As for the rest of the team, Marcus Paige scored 13 points, including nine points from three-point land. Now that he and McDonald are lighting it up with their shooting abilities, the Tar Heels are even more of a threat. J.P. Tokoto once again controlled the game on the defensive end, and he also scored 11 points while leading the team in assists with five.
Everybody did something to help the winning effort in today’s game, including walk-on Wade Moody who came into the game in the last few minutes and cashed in on both of his three-point attempts. This was the first time in a while that the Tar Heels won a game with an outstanding balanced attack, and this needs to continue moving forward.
The most outstanding statistic of the game was the Tar Heels’ free-throw percentage at 82.8 percent, and they also made 11 three-pointers throughout the game which is one of this season’s best for a team that struggled to shoot the ball effectively in the past.
The Tar Heels have now extended their win streak to nine games, and they are without a doubt one of the hottest teams in college basketball right now. With just four games left in the regular season, they have a chance to seal a top spot in the ACC tournament, along with high seed in the big dance in March. As long as they keep up this momentum, the Tar Heels will be an exciting team to watch in the postseason.