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The Daily Tar Heel

Recap: UNC first-years combine for 42 in win over Oregon in Battle 4 Atlantis

UNC's freshman guard Cole Anthony (2) dribbles down the court during a game against Gardner-Webb on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.

The No. 6 North Carolina men's basketball team (6-1) survived a late rally and defeated Oregon (6-2) in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Friday, 78-74. First-years Cole Anthony and Armando Bacot combined for 42 points in the win.

What happened?

Against the Ducks, North Carolina put together its best offensive half of the season before the break. The Tar Heels shot 48.5 percent from the field and sank five three-pointers on the way to a 46-41 halftime lead; Bacot led the way with 13 points on 4-5 from the field and four blocks. 

The strong start was quite the opposite of UNC's showing the previous day against Michigan, in which the team sank just two three-pointers on the day and struggled to score for long stretches in a 73-64 loss.

In the second half, Bacot continued to control the paint on both ends, and his dunk with 5:12 to go put the Tar Heels up 70-60. But the game was not yet in hand; UNC proceeded to go on a four-minute, eight-second stretch dry spell that allowed the Ducks to score nine straight and cut the lead to one.

An ensuing Anthony layup would be the Tar Heels' last field goal of the day, but it proved to be the only one they would need. The rest of UNC's points came at the free throw line, and a missed game-tying three-point attempt from Payton Pritchard with seconds remaining gave North Carolina the win.

Who stood out?

Alongside Bacot's game-high 23, Anthony added 19 points on 6-13 from the floor and five rebounds. Senior guard Brandon Robinson posted 13 points and sank a trio of three-pointers in seven attempts.

Bacot also recorded a team-high 12 rebounds for UNC and a monster six blocks on the day.

When was it decided?

An Oregon layup put the UNC lead at a single point with 32 seconds to play, but the Tar Heels were as cool as they come at the charity stripe. Six straight free throws from Anthony and Robinson iced the game and moved the Tar Heels to 2-1 in three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Why does it matter?

One day after a loss to the Wolverines in which UNC trailed by as much as 24 and gave up a 19-0 run early in the second half, the Tar Heels got a balanced scoring effort in which six players scored at least seven points.

Notably, though, sophomore guard Leaky Black played just nine minutes in the game and injured his right foot early on. On an already thin roster with an inexperienced backcourt – reserve guard K.J. Smith played eight minutes on Friday – Black's potential absence is something to monitor moving forward.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will return home to face off against Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.


@DTHSports |

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