UNC vs. Kentucky: Player of the Match – Armando Bacot

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Yesterday was painful.

With the turmoil and disarray that wreaked havoc on the CBS Sports Classic, securing a game against Kentucky was the best news Carolina fans could have hoped for. Until about four and a half minutes into the game when it became apparent that the Heels were a good step (or two) slower than the Wildcats.

The team had a terrible night defending, giving up countless practices to Sahvir Wheeler and leaving Kentucky to keep their possessions alive with multiple offensive rebounds. The Tennessee Ghosts emerged from the desert sands and haunted the Heels to a season-high 98 points.

Along with the inability – or disinterest – to stop the hoop from penetrating, Carolina forgot how to shoot. Hubert Davis’s side shocked Tar Heel Nation with their proficient ranged shots, but were a dismal 1-13 on the 3-point line. This lack of shot made the dots more difficult to find in the painting.

That’s why Armando Bacot is our player of the match.

Bacot was Carolina’s leading scorer with 22 points. He was the team’s best rebounder with 10 boards.

Many of those points were against a strong defender at Oscar Tshiebwe. The tall British man gave Bacot adjustments in the post and failed him on many moves. It took Bacot a few tries to figure out how to get around Tshiebwe, and after saddling the Kentucky post with two fouls, the gap started to open.

If only the Heels had a typical night shot from a distance of 3 points, they might end up closer to a respectable loss. An immediate conclusion from this loss is that Bacot needs more help on the boards. One game after suffering three offensive rebounds, Brady Manek was held without a single board. Dawson Garcia had just five rebounds and lost a key point on a missed free throw at 5’9 “Wheeler.

Carolina will go as far as Armando Bacot can drag them, but it won’t be very far without help on the boards.


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