North Carolina should look more formidable once the team adjusts to having point guard Cole Anthony back in the mix.
But whether that’s enough to contend with fifth-ranked Florida State on Monday night could be another matter in Tallahassee, Fla.
“I’m trying to make sure everyone keeps their confidence and just build off of what they’ve built so far,” Anthony said. “I’m still trying to be a leader for this team, but I’m not going to overstep my boundaries.”
Anthony, a freshman point guard, is averaging 19.8 points per game in 10 outings this season.
Despite Anthony’s 26 points, North Carolina lost 71-70 to visiting Boston College on Saturday night in his first action since Dec. 8. He had undergone minor knee surgery.
“We’re going to regroup,” Anthony said. “There’s a lot of basketball left to be played. Our season is not over. We’re going to regroup and get better.”
North Carolina coach Roy Williams called Anthony’s first game back “sensational,” and he was largely pleased with what he saw despite seeing the freshman airball a desperation 3-point attempt on the game’s last possession.
Florida State enjoyed a bounce-back performance by going on the road to post a 74-63 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. Devin Vassell scored 27 points and made all seven of his 3-pointers to tie an Atlantic Coast Conference record for most 3-point attempts without a miss.
Despite the flashy performance from Vassell, it’s his steady play that has the Seminoles most pleased.
“Devin is pretty consistent,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I thought Devin’s body language, his verbal communication with his teammates, he was just locked in and I thought our players recognized that and they were trying to get him the ball and he stepped up and was extremely productive.”
Florida State (18-3, 8-2) was playing its first contest since its 10-game winning streak was snapped earlier last week by Virginia.
“We had everybody that went in the game contributing in some kind of way,” Hamilton said. “Devin just happened to be our lead dog.”
The Seminoles display such a balanced attack that it’s not always clear where the main production might come from for any given game. That’s something they thrive on.
“It always seems to be someone stepping up and that’s who we are as a team,” Hamilton said.
North Carolina (10-11, 3-7) will be looking for more widespread production. The Tar Heels won two in a row before the shortcoming against Boston College.
Two of North Carolina’s losses in the past month came in overtime and now there’s a one-point defeat on the list of ACC games.
The Tar Heels have concerns about senior guard Brandon Robinson, who has been banged up with several ailments this season. He was helped off the court in the final minute of the Boston College game with what later was described as a sprained right ankle.
Florida State is just one game behind Louisville in the loss column in the ACC standings. The Seminoles are tied with Duke in second place.
North Carolina leads the all-time series with Florida State by 50-13. The teams meet for the only scheduled matchup of the season.
–Field Level Media