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Off the cuff: Being that it was a game during the holiday season and it was against a heavy underdog, a lot of people stayed away from the Charleston Southern game. But frankly, as a former bench warmer as a youth, I enjoy these games when everyone plays.

All 14 Carolina players got in the game with 12 of them playing five minutes or more.

It was especially fun to see James Okonkwo get some minutes. He got a couple of rebounds near the end of the first half and then he came in to shoot a free throw with more than six minutes to play after Wojcik left the court with an injury. He hit the free throw. That was his first point as a Tar Heel.

With less than two minutes to go, he got a rebound and a bucket - twice, and he hit two more free throws for seven points.

Three others from the deep bench - Creighton Lebo, Rob Landry and Duwe Farris - also got to play but didn't do much. Still, those guys work just as hard at practice as the others, probably harder because they have to hang with more talented players. So, it's fun to see them get a chance to play.

As for the regulars, it was fun to see RJ Davis set a record with 20 points, 10 assists, five steals and no turnovers. In my book, his driving backhanded bounce pass while in mid-air to Jae'lyn Withers for a dunk with 12:36 to go that made it 71-37 was my favorite moment.

Three pointers - whether open or contested and whether set or off-balanced - have become commonplace. But that assist was uncommon, special.

Carolina 105, Charleston Southern 60
Davis leads six Heels in double figures


(Photo by UNC Sports Information)

North Carolina shot a season-best 56 percent from the floor and turned the ball over a season-low five times to whip Charleston Southern 105-60 at home.
(12/29)

Six Tar Heels, led by RJ Davis' 20 points, scored in double figures. Jalen Washington came off the bench for his best game at Carolina with 17 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes of play. Elliott Cadeau finished with 13 points while Armando Bacot and Seth Trimble each scored 12 points. Harrison Ingram, who was three of five from beyond the arc, tallied 10 points.

Davis ended up setting a record as the only player in Carolina history to score 20 points, dish out 10 assists and come up with five steals. Not only that but he didn't turn the ball over during his 26 minutes of play.

"There are very few players that from an offensive standpoint have the ability to be able to score with the ball in his hands and off the ball, and still be able to distribute and get other people involved," UNC coach Hubert Davis said of Davis. "He's just in a really nice rhythm now."

The outcome of the game was pretty much determined by the midway mark of the first half at 24-9 after Cadeau scooped in a shot with his left hand after fastbreak passes from Davis and Jae'Lyn Withers.

Carolina extended the lead to 23 when Ingram drilled a three from the right wing to give the Heels a 51-28 halftime lead.

Every player on the team got to see some action in the second half with first-year player James Okonkwo scoring his first points as a Tar Heel. He ended with seven points over the last six minutes of the game.

"I am really excited about the number of guys coming off the bench, having career highs, getting that rhythm, getting that confidence because that is going to be something needed heading into the conference season," Coach Davis said.

Washington said that the subs are bringing energy off the bench. Carolina's bench players outscored the Buccaneer reserves by a 43-6 margin.

"Any time that Coach Davis asks us to go out there and we do what we are told, and look good doing it, it gives us a lot of confidence," he said. "I'm sure it gives him a lot of confidence to keep trusting us too."

A'lahn Sumler led Charleston Southern with 21 points as the Bucs fall to 4-9.

The Tar Heels, now 9-3, play at conference foe Pittsburgh Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.

Box score


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