UNC routs Wake Forest 105-72 for ninth straight win

North Carolina was playing its fourth game in eight days on Saturday, and it was playing against Wake Forest two days after an emotionally and physically draining victory against No. 5 Duke.

Even at the end of their busiest stretch of the season, though, the Tar Heels looked like the fresher, more energetic team during their 105-72 victory against Wake Forest at the Smith Center. UNC’s 105 points were a season high.

The victory avenged UNC’s earlier loss against Wake, which beat the Tar Heels (20-7, 10-4 ACC) last month in the teams’ first conference game, and it reaffirmed how far UNC has come since then.

That loss against the Demon Deacons (14-13, 4-10) was UNC’s first of three consecutive defeats at the start of the conference schedule. The Tar Heels’ 0-3 start in the ACC equaled the worst in school history and then, after a loss at Virginia, UNC was 1-4 in the conference. Since then, UNC has won nine consecutive games, which equals its longest winning streak since the 2011-12 season.

UNC’s victory against Wake Forest on Saturday was among its easiest during this winning streak and undoubtedly that was a welcome change for the Tar Heels, who had been tested in close, tense triumphs against Pittsburgh, Florida State and Duke.

Against Florida State and Duke, the Tar Heels rallied from double-digit deficits before taking control late. There was no need for such a charge on Saturday at the Smith Center, where UNC built a comfortable early lead that Wake Forest never really threatened.

Midway through the first half, the Tar Heels went ahead by double-digits for the first time. They held a double-digit lead during the final 28 minutes and 12 seconds.

UNC made it look easy at times in the first half, like when Kennedy Meeks, the freshman forward, beat Wake’s defense down the court and scored on a layup after a long pass from Marcus Paige. At times, Wake Forest’s defense appeared to be nonexistent, and the Tar Heels took advantage and led 52-33 at halftime.

UNC stretched its lead to 22 points early in the half and then led 78-51 after a Paige 3 with 11 minutes to play. The Tar Heels made 10 of their 13 3-point attempts and Leslie McDonald, who broke out of a shooting slump in the victory against Duke, played well again. He finished with 19 points and made five of his nine 3-point attempts.

Five other players scored in double-figures for UNC, including Kennedy Meeks (15 points), Brice Johnson (14) and Paige (13).

The Tar Heels, who have had difficulty creating opportunities at the free throw line at points earlier this season, went to the line frequently against the Demon Deacons. UNC also shot well there – a positive sign for a team that’s on pace to become the worst free throw shooting team in school history.

UNC made 16 of its 17 free throw attempts in the first half – its best performance in a half – and the Tar Heels finished 24-49 at the line.

With about five minutes to play, UNC coach Roy Williams put Wade Moody, a walk-on guard, into the game. Moments later, he made a 3-pointer that elicited one of the loudest cheers of the second half. Moody later made another 3 to put the Tar Heels over the 100-point mark.

That resulted in an even louder cheer and, thanks to a promotion that kicks in when UNC scores 100 points, discounted biscuits on Sunday at Bojangles.

Written by Nick


Nick the Quick White is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?

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