During the second half of UNC’s win, Smith was leaping to the rim on a driving layup attempt on the left side. Black swiped at the ball and in doing so made contact with Smith’s head. Smith took a hard fall to the court and was ultimately stretchered off the court. After a video review, the officials ruled it a Flagrant 2 foul – the most severe option, which results in an immediate ejection.
“A Flagrant 2 foul has dirty behind it,” Davis said Monday night on his weekly radio show. “None of our players, especially Leaky, made dirty plays and it was a basketball play. It was unfortunate the way Terquavion fell down hard and was hurt and we’re thankful he wasn’t injured. Leaky felt horrible about it and it wasn’t a dirty play, it was a basketball play that happened to result in a hard fall. It was nothing more than that.”
NC State head coach Kevin Keatts agreed, telling reporters Monday that he did not perceive any ill intent.
“I thought it was a good basketball play,” Keatts said during the ACC teleconference. “I don’t think Leaky did anything intentional to try and harm him at all. I thought it was a really good basketball play. I thought he went for the ball or maybe even tipped the ball. It was ugly because he came across and basically he missed it and hit him across the head, then obviously just the way he fell.”
Fans at the Smith Center and viewers at home saw Smith writhing on the floor, medical staff attending to him for a prolonged period of time, and his stretcher exit to a standing ovation. They then saw Black ejected from the game and ushered off the court.
Black returned to the North Carolina locker room where the team’s director of basketball operations, Eric Hoots, and Davis’ wife, Leslie, stayed with him to offer support for the rest of the game.
“He was really upset,” Davis said. “He was upset that he was ejected from the game, but his mind and his thoughts were with him Terquavion and he wanted to make sure he was okay.”
Smith was taken to UNC Hospitals, determined to have no serious injuries, and was released shortly thereafter. Davis obtained Smith’s cell phone number, and both Davis and Black reached out on Saturday night.
“I’m so happy and relieved that Terquavion is feeling a lot better,” Davis said.
He’s Caleb Love
“I can’t remember too many players like him that, regardless if he’s making shots or missing shots, in big time situations he wants the ball. And he’s also extremely confident that he can make the shot. We had a comfortable lead, and before you knew it, we were only up by one late in the second half against Boston College, and he hits a three and he scores nine points in the last five minutes of the game. And we win easily because of him and his effort on both ends of the floor.
“I told Caleb I was really proud of him. The thing that I keep telling him is he’s a basketball player, he’s not just a shooter or a scorer. And there’s so many things that you can do out there on the floor that is a benefit not only to you, but a benefit to the team. I think he can be an unbelievable, outstanding defensive player. I think he can be an incredible leader. I think we’re undefeated when he has five or more assists in a game . And so he can distribute the basketball. There’s so many ways as a player to make an impact. And he has the gifts and the talent to be able to do that every game.
“A lot of people don’t remember for the shot that he had against Duke in the Final Four, he was (3-for-10) from three. So he’s (2-of-9) when he took that shot, and he took it with just tremendous confidence. And I felt like I knew it was going in. He was the only one that really wanted the ball during that situation that could have made that shot over Mark Williams. And so that’s the beauty of the gifts that Caleb has and I’m glad he’s on our team.”
“I don’t think we’ve shot the ball anywhere near the percentage that I think we can shoot all season, but also don’t think it’s a slump. Last year we shot the ball better than this year. It is what it is. And for whatever reason we haven’t shot the ball percentage-wise as well as last season, and so it’s something that we work on all the time. It’s something that we’ve talked about in terms of taking and making good shots . But we also attack the basket better this year, we also get to the free throw line more this year, Armando’s much better this year. And the good thing that I love is when needed this season, we’ve been able to step up and make threes.”