After a heartbreaking loss to No. 4 Virginia this past Monday, the eighth-ranked UNC men’s basketball team got back to its winning ways on Saturday afternoon in Winston-Salem—easily dispatching the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by a score of 95-57.
In their last opportunity to improve ahead of Wednesday’s huge rivalry showdown against Duke, the Tar Heels (20-5, 10-2 ACC) left nothing up to chance against Wake Forest (9-15, 2-10 ACC).
UNC scored the first 18 points of the game on Saturday, and seemingly could not miss no matter what.
Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson led the team with a season-high 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field, including a 7-for-10 mark from three-point range—just one three-pointer shy of the school record for a single game.
As a team, the Tar Heels posted another season-high by shooting 62 percent from the floor and were barely challenged at all by a Wake Forest team tied with Pittsburgh for last place in the ACC.
Eleven different players also scored for UNC, even as the Tar Heels remained without reserves Leaky Black and Sterling Manley—who remain sidelined with injuries.
With the game essentially decided just over five minutes into the action, the rest of the day turned into more of a glorified scrimmage for head coach Roy Williams and company.
In addition to Johnson’s outstanding performance, UNC also received 10 points from both Coby White and Luke Maye—who were the only other players on the team to score in double figures.
Although the opponent wasn’t exactly the type of team that the Tar Heels will see in an NCAA Tournament game, Saturday was the latest chance for UNC to show what it’s capable of when everything is clicking just right.
After leading by 28 points at halftime, the Tar Heels led by as many as 38 in the second half and, at times, seemed physically incapable of doing anything wrong in one of their more impressive outings of the season.
While it’s impossible to say that anything from a blowout over Wake Forest will carry over to Wednesday’s game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, it certainly didn’t hurt for UNC to get back into the win column—and in dominant fashion, as well.
“We haven’t talked about the other game,” Williams said of Wednesday’s matchup against Duke. “I haven’t said anything about it. Still haven’t said anything about it. I’ve treated that game just like any other game. Before we played Virginia, I didn’t talk about playing Wake Forest and before we played Wake Forest, I didn’t talk about playing the next game.”
UNC and Duke will tip-off this Wednesday in Durham at 9 p.m. for the first of two meetings between the teams during the regular season.
- It was UNC’s largest win over Wake Forest in 228 all-time meetings between the teams.
- The Tar Heels tied a season high with 16 made shots from three-point range on just 25 attempts
- Freshman wing Nassir Little, who left UNC’s loss to Virginia on Monday in the first half with an ankle injury, finished the game with five points–all in the first half. He did not play in the second half, and was also not on the Tar Heel bench during the final 20 minutes.
Cover photo via Associated Press