Lucas: Fast Responses from Boston College

By Adam Lucas

1. Carolina did what it had to do by taking an 85-61 victory over Boston College in the second round of the ACC tournament. Carolina has now won 16 of the last 17 against the Eagles.

2. As before, the big story between now and tomorrow’s 7 p.m. game becomes the force of by Armando Bacot single. The Tar Heel big man twisted his left ankle in the first half and went to the locker room for the rest of the first period. He came back and played the first 5:33 of the second half, but was clearly limited and had no lift. Carolina will need as much from Bacot as they can get against Virginia (the image at the end of the game on ESPN showing UNC facing Clemson was wrong). He had ten points and six boards in 18 minutes against BC.

3. Carolina ran a great attack in the first half. It’s pretty simple: shots went in. And as you know by now if you’ve watched this team, shots are hard to beat when shots go in. Caleb love led the Heels with 22 points at 9-for-20 from the field, and RJ Davis Added 18 on 7-out-of-12 shots. The Carolina offense also featured 10-for-23 from the three-point line, a healthy 43.5 percent.

4. As has often happened with this year’s team, the good offense led to more intensity in the defense. After a few intense days of practice after the Duke game, the Tar Heels were completely locked in defensively, challenging almost every Boston College pass and shot in the first 20 minutes.

5. Pete Nancy added an element of edge protection to Carolina’s defense. Nance had four blocks on Wednesday, with a few of those aggressive plays negating an initially easy Eagle basket. Nance now has ten blocks in the past four games. Before that, he had ten blocks in 17 ACC games. Nance was also effective offensively and did all his work in the middle class, where he had ten points.

6. A defensive adjustment in the first half changed the course of play. Makai Ashton-Langford started the game 3-3 from the pitch, whipping all three of them. But then the Tar Heels switched Leaking black on to Ashton-Langford, going just 1-for-3 over the rest of the half and one for his next six as Carolina built the biggest lead the Tar Heels have had in any ACC game. Ashton-Langford did not score a field goal until the second half when there were five minutes left in the game.

7. Something very unexpected happened Wednesday night: the Tar Heels blasted Boston College out of a zone. The Eagles tried to go to a 1-3-1 look midway through the first half, but a quick Carolina offensive rebound that led to a basket and three-pointer quickly convinced Earl Grant that this was a bad idea. The Tar Heels weren’t as successful against the zone in the second half when they were too stagnant on offense. A zone is of course no problem against Virginia tomorrow night.

8. Heavy night before Puff Johnsonbut an emerging story at the end of the season is the rise of Dontrez styles. The Kinston native hasn’t been flashy, but he hasn’t hurt Carolina from the bench either. The highlight on Wednesday night for Styles was a beautiful pass to Nance for an assist, and he also added a baseline drive for a slam with two minutes remaining.

9. Styles was part of a UNC banking contingent that gave the Heels some solid minutes. D’Marco Dunn hit a few three-pointers, Seth Trimble scored off a drive and the Tar Heel bench contributed 17 points. As everyone knows, you have to take production off the bench to win four games in four days. We even had a Biscuit Boys sighting – or at least partial Biscuit Boys, since (ridiculous) rules limit the number of players who can dress up and Have Farris And Beau Maye were in the stands in street clothes – in the last minute.

10. This year marks the first season of an ACC Tournament seat change. Traditionally, all of a school’s tickets are grouped by section, so there is a block of seats for each school. But this year, each school got a few tickets to the “good” sections, leading to a very different feeling arena.

11. Even with the change, it’s still Greensboro, which still feels right (and was an appropriate place for Jim Boeheim to coach his last game). Next year, the ACC Tournament will head back to Washington, DC (which also happens to be the site of Carolina’s last ACC Tournament title in 2016). Subsequent sites have not been announced.

12. Officials carried pink whistles in tribute to Roger Ayers’ 22-year-old daughter, who was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is believed that the condition was caught early.

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