UNC Basketball rolls past Johnson C. Smith in Exhibition contest

Dec 1, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) with the ball in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 1, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) with the ball in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The UNC basketball program made the most of their lone exhibition game, as they dominated HBCU opponent Johnson C. Smith. 

Before the UNC basketball program officially kicks off its season on November 7, Hubert Davis and his team had an opportunity to play an exhibition game in front of the home crowd at the Dean Smith Center.

The opponent for the contest was Johnson C. Smith, an HBCU program. Coming in heavily favored, the Tar Heels took care of business as expected, winning the game by a score of 101-40.

This contest gave us all an early look at what this year’s squad has to offer. With a lot of familiar faces back in the mix, the new additions just keep adding to the anticipation and excitement heading into this season.

Before we get into some key takeaways, it’s important to note that the Tar Heels were without four players:

Given that he is working his way back from injury, Washington wasn’t expected to play from the onset. However, the other three players were, but there really shouldn’t be too much concern over any of their absences.

The Tar Heels said that if this was a regular season game, RJ Davis would have been playing. It’s certain that they held him out as a precaution, as they don’t want to risk further injury before the season gets underway.

Puff Johnson has had some injury concerns during his time in Chapel Hill, so his absence may be the most concerning of them all. However, the hope is that it’s a minimal injury and that he’ll be ready for the season opener.

Here are some of my takeaways from tonight’s game:

  • Let’s start with Caleb Love, who had a team-high 20 points to go along with eight assists. Love was confident on the floor, and as we’ve seen in the past, once he gets going offensively, he’s very difficult to slow down.
  • Armando Bacot was a vacuum on the glass, as he recorded 20 rebounds. The double-double machine also added 12 points to his stat line.
  • In his unofficial Tar Heels debut, Pete Nance showcased some of the skills that will be very valuable to the UNC basketball program this season. Even though he didn’t shoot particularly well from deep, his veteran presence and above-average passing are things that visibly stood out. Nance was effective from the floor, scoring 19 points in the victory.
  • Seth Trimble is a piece that I feel is going to be critical off the bench. The Tar Heels lacked a capable guard to fill in for Love and Davis, but Trimble shows all the signs of being a productive player in a reserve role. As the first player off the bench, Trimble did a little bit of everything and showed flashes of his athleticism via a coast-to-coast score as well as an impressive dunk.
  • Tyler Nickel is a walking bucket- literally. Expect Hubert Davis to find minutes for him, especially if he can shoot the ball at the high level he’s capable of.
  • Of course, there is always room to improve, as the defense was a bit sluggish at times. You saw first-hand how Hubert Davis furiously called a timeout after his team let up a three-pointer immediately after a Nickel made three. Even in exhibition contests, Davis wants his team to be very active, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

Needless to say, even though it was just an exhibition game, Tar Heel fans should be excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for this team. This year’s roster is deep, as Davis and his staff will have plenty of talent to work with.

Now, we anxiously await the start of the regular season.

Next. What type of role will Dontrez Styles play?. dark

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