N.C.’s CHAPEL HILL — Prior to the Tar Heels’ ACC basketball game against visiting Notre Dame on Saturday, North Carolina coach Hubert Davis spoke with the media on Friday in the afternoon (11:30 a.m., ESPN2).
Wake Forest was defeated by UNC 88-79 on Wednesday night, a victory made possible by the Tar Heels’ 51-point second half and 60 percent field goal shooting. RJ Davis finished with 27 points, including 22 in the second half. In the game’s last 14 minutes, UNC (10-5 overall, 2-2 ACC) made a smaller lineup with Seth Trimble, Caleb Love, and Davis at three guards, Leaky Black at forward, and Armando Bacot at centre. This decision was partly driven by Pete Nance’s back problem. Nance began Wednesday night, although he didn’t play for too long.
Tuesday night, Notre Dame (8-7, 0-4) fell to Boston College 70-63. The team has lost five of its previous six games and has only defeated Jacksonville since December 7. Here are our quick summaries of Davis’ remarks from Friday at the Smith Center.
According to Davis, Nance (sore/stiff back) will play on Saturday if he feels up to it. Since the Wake Forest game, “His back has improved every day,” Davis said. Nance, a forward, started the game as normal that evening but had to be removed after just 1:56.
Nance’s back had not caused any issues, according to Davis, between UNC’s defeat at Pittsburgh on December 30 and Wednesday night. According to Davis, “I wasn’t even thinking about it” becoming into a problem. However, Nance started grimacing right after the Wake Forest game’s opening jump ball.
The time that UNC players Justin McKoy and Jalen Washington spent off the bench against Wake Forest after Nance left “definitely helped us,” according to Davis. At the 18:04 mark of the first half, the Tar Heels used Washington as their first substitution. His baseline face-up jumper gave UNC its biggest lead in the first half, 26-18.
Davis praised McKoy for his defence. According to Davis, “He had energy, effort, and passion out there on the floor.” McKoy provided two points and two rebounds while playing a season-high 17 minutes. Washington finished with two points, two rebounds, and three fouls, which somewhat restricted him.
According to Davis, McKoy “has always been someone who works very hard and has always been someone who’s ready for whenever his number is called.” That is why he is so important to us.
Regarding Saturday’s game against an older and more seasoned Notre Dame club, Davis remarked, “it’s crucial to realise who you’re facing.” Four seasoned starters for the Fighting Irish are grads who have remained with the organisation. Their lineup has been used previously, according to Davis. They have faced challenging circumstances.
A skilled passing team, according to Davis, is Notre Dame. The Irish can switch on defence at various places with to the presence of 6-foot-4 JJ Starling, 6-foot-5 Cormac Ryan, 6-foot-5 Trey Wertz, and 6-foot-6 Dane Goodwin on the court, according to Davis.
Wake Forest committed seven second-half mistakes as a result of UNC’s pressure, five of which happened in the final nine minutes of play and resulted in quick UNC scores. UNC had a 32-8 advantage in fastbreak points in the end.
Does Davis believe that the three-guard lineup, which included Trimble, Love, RJ Davis, Black, and Bacot, produced a defensive breakthrough? Davis remarked, “I wouldn’t look at it as a breakthrough, but as a model for how we can play defence.”
According to Davis, the bunch played with tenacity, enthusiasm, and effort while providing solid on-ball defence. One of, if not the finest defensive stretches we’ve played this season, according to Davis. We were able to increase our offensive effectiveness and performance as a result.
Bacot has improved his communication and leadership, according to Davis, “which I have enjoyed.” When UNC huddles, Bacot has developed into a leader, according to Davis, who added that he has urged Bacot to increase his impact in that area.
Bacot had a season high in both points scored and rebounds among ACC players. Since he was able to play again after missing the Tar Heels’ defeat to Virginia Tech on December 4 due to a bruised right shoulder, he has averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds over the following six games. Bacot, according to Davis, is running the floor more deliberately and putting in more effort early in possessions to establish position in the low post. Since he recovered from the accident, “those two areas, in my opinion, substantially have improved,” Davis added.
In the previous four games, Love had only a 7-for-28 3-point shooting percentage, with only 3-for-17 coming in the last three contests. Davis said on Friday, “I don’t even look at it as Caleb is having a (tough) period. “I don’t view Caleb in that manner. Basketball player Caleb. He is not simply good at shooting; he can rule and completely alter a game in many other ways.
Love, according to Davis, gave a very strong defensive effort Wednesday night, especially when paired up against Wake Forest guard Tyree Appleby (16 points on 5-for-15 from the field). Davis stated, “That’s why I think he’s going to have a long NBA career. He is capable of more than just dominating with his scoring and 3-point shooting, according to the statement.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions,” Davis declared. I’ve simply never been that way. However, if the UNC head coach had to make a resolution, he stated that it would be for the Tar Heels to reach their maximum potential, develop into the best team they can be, and then accept the outcomes of the journey they take this season.