North Carolina basketball had an opportunity to knock off fourth ranked Virginia, as the game was tied at 59 with less than four minutes left. The Cavaliers closed the game on a 10-2 run, dropping the Tar Heels to 9-2 in conference play. The loss is not back breaking as Virginia is one of the nation’s best teams, but it is a game that got away from Roy Williams.
North Carolina needs to have a bounce back game as the Tar Heels travel to Durham on Wednesday. The Blue Devils are fresh off a 23-point comeback win and have the top record in conference play at 10-1. Coby White has been playing better as of late for coach Williams, but he missed multiple three-pointers late against Virginia that could have changed the game.
He was not the only Tar Heel that struggled as Luke Maye went 2-10 against Virginia. The senior forward did grab 11 rebounds, but Maye needs to be a more productive scorer for North Carolina. If he struggles against Wake Forest, Maye could have a long day against Duke’s athletic front line.
Cameron Johnson struggled from behind the arc against Virginia, going 2-7 from three-point land. The Tar Heels as a whole struggled from behind the line as they shot 30 percent on three-pointers. White went 3-11 as he failed to get any rhythm on his shot throughout the game. North Carolina needs White to be at his best against Duke, so a solid performance against Wake Forest would help him get back on track.
Nassir Little is another Tar Heel who needs to get back on track after playing only two minutes against Virginia because of a right ankle injury. He is a valuable part of Williams’ squad as he gives North Carolina scoring and athleticism off the bench. His absence creates a huge hole for the Tar Heels that will be hard to replace.
The only Tar Heel who was efficient against Virginia was Garrison Brooks who had 12 points and eight rebounds on 5-8 shooting. The sophomore big man has been a pleasant surprise for Williams this season, shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and averaging 8.4 points per game. Brooks has turned into a reliable big man on the block and will look to continue his strong year against Wake Forest.
The Tar Heels were held to 61 points against Virginia, making it the fourth time this season that they have failed to score 70 points. North Carolina has been able to bounce back from poor offensive shooting this season, scoring at least 75 points in those games. The Tar Heels will need to score over 80 points against Wake Forest for them to feel confident for their upcoming game against Duke.