ACC Basketball

Tar Heels eventually pull away

Will Bratton/WRAL

Not all wins need to be a thing of beauty, but a victory that ends a two-game slide is always attractive to me. Carolina head coach Roy Williams decided on a last second lineup change, sticking Isaiah Hicks into the starting lineup next to Brice Johnson, and it paid off nicely.

The pair were nearly unstoppable inside against a weak Eagles frontline, combining for 41 points (Hicks: 21, Johnson: 20). Johnson added in 10 rebounds for a double-double. It’s a good thing too, because Marcus Paige got into foul trouble and struggled from deep (1-5), although he finished strong and ended the game with 13 points.

Yet, this one was rarely easy for the Tar Heels. With Olivier Hanlan driving through the lane like he had a green light, Boston College opened up a 23-17 lead 12 minutes into the game, before the Tar Heels switched to zone and went on a 9-0. From there, the two squads went head-to-head, swapping the lead until Carolina’s transition game got rolling, as their bigs kept beating everyone down the floor. With a 16-5 run eight minutes into the second half, the Tar Heels seemingly took control, 58-45.

Yet, behind Hanlan (30 points) and Aaron Brown (18 points), the Eagles stayed within striking distance, before Carolina seal it with a 5-0 run to end the game.

At 1-9 in conference, Boston College falls into a tie for last place in the ACC. Meanwhile, North Carolina continues to keep pace with the top of the ACC. At 8-3, they remain in fourth place, holding a half-game lead over Duke.

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