Was that Luke Skywalker or Larry Bird at the Smith Center?
After he played a few bad games, Roy Williams told his junior forward not to try to be anybody but Luke Maye, a good Luke Maye. So Tuesday night against Boston College, Maye turned into what pop psychologists call the best version of himself.
He was off to one of his sneaky double-doubles early in the game before we realized the force was with him tonight or he was trying to be the best version of Larry Legend – and Maye would get his ninth double-double this season and tenth of his college career before halftime – with 21 points and 10 rebounds as his team shook off the Tallahassee and Charlottesville blues.
Maye’s halftime total was one more than he had in all of his last two games, when he was the worst version of himself, while UNC outscored BC by 15 and out-rebounded the Eagles by 21, margins that were basically doubled by game’s end.
Maye opened at center in Williams’ small lineup, featuring Cam Johnson in his first start sharing the three and four positions with Theo Pinson. It wasn’t long before ol’ Roy sent regular starter Garrison Brooks into the game, so going small was more symbolic – like you don’t score from the paint, you don’t start.
On UNC’s 400th win in the Dean Dome, Maye became the 23rd Tar Heel – a familiar number when you are talking Super Hero stuff – to score at least 30 points in a home game, the last being Tyler Zeller in 2012 against Maryland. Maye’s finishing 32 was the highest total for a Tar Heel since Justin Jackson’s 34 versus Kentucky in Vegas last season and most in the Smith Center since 2009 Final Four MVP Wayne Ellington’s 34 also against Maryland. And while we’re talking Super Heroes, 1998 ACC Player of the Year Antawn Jamison was the last Heel at home to put up at least 30 and 15 versus, you guessed it, Maryland!
Like those guys on their days, Luuuuke was everywhere being his best self, canning a career-tying four three-pointers – one from downtown Chapel Hill – and finishing with career-bests of 18 rebounds and 32 points in the much needed win for his team.
The 13 field goals on 20 attempts were also personal highs for Maye, the son of record-breaking Tar Heel quarterback Mark Maye in the 1980s. But it was his Mom, Aimee, who took her son to lunch and gave him his new mentality. “Go out and have fun,” she told him. And he did, being the best Luke he could be.