Lucas: NC State quick reactions

By Adam Lucas

1. It’s one of the best days you’ll ever have at the Dean E. Smith Center. Carolina beat NC State, 100-80, everyone gets biscuits, Michael Jordan was there and Roy Williams was honored. What a dadgum day.

2. Perhaps in honor of Williams – “It always looks better when the ball goes in the basket” – Tar Heels decided to absolutely burn the nets. Carolina shot 54.8 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from the three-point line, and the game was never ever in doubt after the opening minutes.

3. Six different Tar Heels hit a three-pointer, led by Brady Manek with five of them and Caleb love with four. Love led by 21 points, Armando Bacot had 18, and Manek and RJ Davis had 17 pcs.

The Carolina offensive also shared the ball beautifully, which Manek personified late in the first half. Already with 14 points, Manek could have been excused for chasing his own shot. Instead, he found Armando Bacot with a beautiful pass to a dunk and a lead of 28 points. Many of those passes came in the transition as Carolina played in the transition more efficiently than they have done all season. The tar heels got 23 quick break points.

By the way, Bacot had his 11th double-double in the last 12 games and looked a lot more like himself. He finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds and, after some recent shootouts, hit five of his 10 field goal attempts. He also passed 1,000 career points, making him the 79th Tar Heel to reach the milestone.

6. It was mostly a day to attack, but Carolina’s defense on the Dereon Seabron should also be noted. Wolfpack standout is one of the top scorers in the league, however Leaky blackThe led Carolina defense limited him to 1-to-6 from the field. State knew it would probably take big days from all three of the squad’s top scorers to have a chance – they got it from just two as Terquavion Smith had 34 points and Jericole Hellems added 23.

7. Good day to the Carolina bench, who gave just exactly the spark Hubert Davis need. Puff Johnson scored eight and Kerwin Walton had five points and Johnson also added six rebounds in his 18 minutes. Johnson’s energy was a big part of Carolina extending the lead in the first half. The Tar Heel bench surpassed the NC State reserves 22-9.

8. You got a glimpse of what will help Dontrez Styles earn more minutes as his career progresses. As soon as he got into the game in the second half, he immediately hit the offensive glass and converted a putback. His athletic abilities – which he showed again when he made room for a jumper with four minutes left – are going to help him play for Tar Heels.

9. Avoid the pressure from the biscuit free throw. With 37.9 seconds on the line and Carolina sitting at 99 points, it was Jackson Watkins who threw it to send the sold-out quantity into hysteria.

10. Roy Williams now has a banner in the Smith Center rafters, an appropriate recognition for one of the best who has ever done so. The half-time ceremony, with a video told by Marcus Paige and an introduction by Jones Angell, press all the correct tones. If you missed the video, or just want to relive it, it is here. The video before the game, narrated by Williams, are here.

11. Oh, and by the way, Carolina also honored the 40th anniversary of the 1982 championship. No matter what you paid for a ticket, you got your money’s worth on Saturday. Tar Heels is now 15-6 overall, 7-3 in the league and stuck in the hunt among the ACC leaders. What a change from how things felt a week ago. There is no place like home and three home games in a row may have turned the momentum of the season. Now it has to move on to the road in Louisville Tuesday night (the game was moved from the originally announced Monday).

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