By Adam Lucas
1. It’s almost impossible to describe the number of opportunities and missed opportunities for Carolina in this game. In the second game with four overtimes in UNC history (the other being a 1976 win over Tulane), Alabama won a 103-101 decision. It’s a shame such a historic game will largely be remembered for perhaps the only knocked-down goalkeeper in program history.
2. Nate Oats called a timeout on Alabama’s last possession in the second half and had a chance to set up a game-winning shot. It looked like The Tide liked Jahvon Quinerly’s matchup against him caleb lovebut a bullet screen allowed a UNC switch and went Tasty black– a better defender and exactly who UNC would have wanted defending the potential winning shot – on Quinerly. Black denied Quinerly’s final shot and the game went into overtime.
3. Carolina then had a similar chance to win the game at the end of overtime by isolating caleb love to try to get the game winner. Love, no stranger to Big Shots, was able to shake free and create some space but missed a three-point attempt with a few seconds left. You could see the legs starting for both teams in the third overtime as jumpers fell short and players began playing the game of least resistance instead of the harder game (see, for example, three of Carolina’s last four possessions ). third extra session and most of Alabama’s fourth overtime offense).
4. This was the best game of Puff Johnsons Carolina’s career, although his stats weren’t overwhelming. Johnson had ten points and five rebounds in an incredible 48 minutes of play, but the Tar Heels just couldn’t have won the game without him. He was involved in almost every free ball, played good defense and made the right decisions in almost every possession. Hubert Davis uses Johnson exclusively on the track. It paid off as Johnson threw himself at a loose ball in midfield with 31.6 seconds left and secured possession after it looked like Alabama would pull off an offensive rebound. It’s exactly the kind of game Davis asked his team to play in the first month of the season. Johnson also had an offensive rebound and bucket in the second overtime.
5. Johnson and D’Marco Dunn were huge from Carolina Bank. Both looked absolutely at home in a top-25 game at a high level Hubert Davis extended their rotations and eventually played them together for 63 minutes. But also give credit Peter Nancewho spent most of the second half on the bench but was then substituted on for relief Armando Bacot and had two big defensive stops at the end of the second overtime. He then threw a beautiful pass to open the third overtime, scored his first field goal of the game in the same period and had another key defensive stop with less than two minutes left. Hubert Davis will use this game for years as an example of being ready whenever your name is called. This group includes: Seth Trimblewho sat for over an hour was put in play 9.3 seconds ahead for defense in a one-point play and made a diving play to generate a turnover.
6. He scored 34 points but Carolina needs love to be more efficient. The junior guard made a whopping 36 field goal attempts on Sunday and made 13. Love’s aggressiveness bit his heels in Double OT when he was called off for attacking a play when it looked like the defender was in circles. But here’s the other thing about love: it competes. He played an amazing 57 minutes. Fifty-seven minutes and still had his legs to take a couple of free throws in the fourth overtime. RJ Davis was a similar situation as he played 51 minutes and went off the field 8-for-24.
7. Alabama came into play in the nation’s top 25 by scoring from the free throw line. But Carolina defended fairly well from no fouls (helped by Bama, who caught unusual fire from the three-point line) in a game with some odd whistles from a team that didn’t live up to the caliber of the game. and the Tide scored just 13 points from the line in essentially three halves.
8th. Tasty black will probably be sore tomorrow after twisting his ankle early in overtime but then it gets tough and comes back – to the great amusement of Oats (who played at Chapel Hill on a couple of separate occasions in a very intense game that both sides wanted very much), who made quite a bit of believing that Black (who shot 86.8 percent from the line last season) was faking an injury to avoid trying free throws — a few minutes later. Black has dealt with ankle injuries during his Carolina career, playing an incredible 54 minutes. Basically, all the numbers in this game were incredible.
9. His numbers weren’t mind-boggling, however Armando Bacot was a warrior in a physical game and finished it with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. The Tar Heels ran a set for Bacot on the first play and seemed much more aware of their big man on offense. With Peter Nance Hampered by foul problems, Bacot shouldered most of the inside load for Carolina, and the Heels topped the tide in the paint 54-40. Bacot – whose afternoon was eventually ended by an apparently weak ankle – also made defensive moves, including a key one-on-one stop against Brandon Miller, Alabama’s biggest offensive threat, with less than three minutes to play when Nate Oats attempted to isolate himself Miller on the big man from Tar Heel. The Tar Heels wished they could have had Bacot in that fourth overtime as Charles Bediako broke away for a couple of game-changing baskets.
10. A few sneaky big sequences in a tight game. In the first half, with the Tar Heels deep on the bench, they were seven down with 90 seconds to go and struggling on offense. The ball landed at caleb love, who had to force a guarded three while pinned against the touchline. But it went into the bank and Carolina was just three behind at halftime. In the second half, the Heels were again down by seven when Alabama missed a wide-open three from the corner. Then, after a miss from Tar Heel, the Tide stepped onto the baseline while catching a defensive rebound. Armando Bacot went on to convert a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays to reduce the deficit to one. The late plays usually get the most attention, but those two sequences were a big part of the tar heels that stayed in the game.
11. When Alabama hit the offensive glass hard, Carolina was able to spark a running attack. The Tide went into the game as the second-best team in the nation in terms of offensive rebound percentage, but the Heels countered by scoring 11 fastbreak points in the first 20 minutes, nearly a third of their total offensive first-half output. Carolina finished the race with 24 fastbreak points compared to 15 for Bama.
12. Carolina was just three minutes behind after a fascinating 3:30 first-half final Hubert Davis went deep into his bank. With Peter Nance (3 fouls), RJ Davis (2 and Armando Bacot (2) In dire trouble, the heels turned to the second unit. The initial grouping was caleb love, Justin McCoy, D’Marco Dunn, Puff Johnson and Tasty black. When McKoy missed a few rebounds, he was replaced by Dontrez styles. This group kept the Tar Heels balanced and prevented big tide runs, keeping the heels tight in the second half.
13. These reserves included Want razors for a short distance, who contributed his first tar heel points by hitting two free throws.
14. Carolina probably had a matchup break when Alabama forward Noah Clowney left the game after a scary-looking moment when he fell hard on his tailbone after an attempted dunk. Clowney, a freshman, had already given the Tar Heels some trouble with his versatility in the first three minutes of the game and was the team’s best offensive rebounder; those were the only three minutes he played in the game.
15. A matchup like this deserved a better audience. With a local start time of 12:30 p.m. at the old Veterans Memorial Coliseum and most of Tuscaloosa home for the Iron Bowl, attendance was essentially limited to the players’ families and West Coast Tar Heel fans. The environment didn’t match the intensity of the game.
16. As part of a pre-arranged itinerary, the Tar Heels will spend Sunday night in Portland. Instead of driving all the way home and then coming back halfway across the country, they’re traveling to Bloomington tomorrow for Wednesday night’s game in Indiana. The other complicating factor: Carolina exams start later this week and players are trying to prepare for the end of the semester, so they’re trying to maximize study time. That’s difficult on one of the toughest tracks of the season. Being able to return to the hotel and rest after a quadruple overtime game instead of boarding a plane straight away is a great luxury.