University of North Carolina Athletics

By Adam Lucas

1. What a win and what a regular season. Carolina beats Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 84-79.

2. Does anyone have the ACC Tournament seeding scenarios in the event of a tie? Just kidding–the Heels win the ACC outright. It’s the ninth time in the last 20 years the Heels played Duke in the finale needing a win to either share or win outright the regular season. They have won all nine.

3. Terrific performance from Cormac Ryan. The Tar Heel guard started the game hot from three and was aggressive throughout the contest, finishing with 31 points. Ryan did make six three-pointers, including the backbreaker, but he also converted two two-point shots and nine free throws. Again, the Heels are better when he’s looking to score in other ways besides just trifectas. He was the veteran presence and scorer that the Heels needed in this game. The only other Tar Heel in double figures was Harrison Ingram, who also made some very timely shots and scored 14 points to go with his 10 rebounds. God bless the transfer portal and the work the Carolina coaches did in that department this past summer.

4. Some iffy late-game execution was bailed out by solid shooting at the free throw line. The Tar Heels couldn’t always keep a handle on the ball, but they converted their final eight free throws of the game. That included both ends of a one-and-one from Ingram, who went 4-5 at the line.

5. Seth Trimble quietly made some very big baskets, two of which stopped what seemed to be an impending Duke run. His first came after a Tyrese Proctor steal and dunk. Then, after Proctor again had a steal and layup, Trimble converted again. And his third basket of the first half came after the Blue Devils had cut the deficit to eight. The sophomore played with more confidence and turned them into important points, helping UNC to a 12-2 lead in bench points in the first half. Trimble finished with six points and four rebounds with just one turnover. He also was part of a tempo that for a second straight time was decidedly in UNC’s favor, as Carolina had a 19-6 advantage in fast break points.

6. In a game where the whistles blew (and didn’t blow) at interesting times, Elliot Cadeau collecting two first-half fouls and going to the bench with 7:48 in the first half changed the game for the Carolina offense. The Tar Heels had a 13-point lead when Cadeau went to the bench, and had a nine-point lead at the break thanks to a very timely tip-in from Jae’Lyn Withers (Duke got the ball first in the second half, so Withers’ shot was especially big). After Cadeau left, the Heels had two turnovers and shot 3 for 12. Factoring in Cadeau’s other stint on the bench, the Tar Heels were 12-for-17 from the field with the freshman on the court in the first 20 minutes.

7. With that in mind, the Tar Heels might have wished they took at least one shot at drawing Filipowski’s third foul when the Devils left him in the game with two fouls late in the first half. There was an opportunity when Bacot was trying to post him up, but Withers instead missed an open corner three-pointer. Filipowski finished the game with four fouls and a play on which no foul was called will be discussed quite a bit in the next couple of days.

8. Cormac Ryan’s first 3:34 were among the all-time tone-setting moments in the Carolina-Duke series. Ryan tossed in three three-pointers in that stretch, helping Carolina build an instant double-digit lead that served as a cushion for the remainder of the half. 

9. Mike Krzyzewski attended the game. Write your own next sentence.

10. Carolina’s bench was terrific. The Tar Heels had a 14-7 edge in bench points. Jae’Lyn Withers consistently made big plays, including a block/tip-in sequence in the second half, and Trimble made the aforementioned big baskets.

11. Carolina finished the regular season 8-2 on the road in the ACC, a terrific performance away from home in a year the NCAA Tournament selection committee has said they are closely evaluating road performance. In addition, the Heels finish 17-3 in the league. Only one other ACC team in history has won 17 regular season games–Virginia went 17-1 in 2018.

12. The Tar Heels open play in Washington, D.C., on Thursday at noon against the winner of FSU and Virginia Tech.


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