GREENSBORO — North Carolina men’s basketball ran past Virginia Tech, 78-56, in a first-round ACC Tournament matchup on Tuesday that extended its 2020 postseason until at least tomorrow night.
Forward Garrison Brooks scored a team-high 20 for the No. 14 seed Tar Heels, who will play No. 6 Syracuse on Wednesday around 9:30 p.m. Brandon Robinson added 17 for UNC, which out-rebounded the No. 11 Hokies, 45-30, and held them to 29 percent shooting.
Robinson scored eight early points, and UNC went on a 17-3 run early in the first half after trailing 4-0. Virginia Tech heated up from deep, though, and fought back to 21-18 with seven minutes to go. North Carolina responded with seven straight points (including a smooth Leaky Black assist to Armando Bacot for a dunk) to keep a 28-18 lead at the under-four timeout.
Virginia Tech’s Landers Nolley scored eight points, including two tough threes, out of that break to will Virginia Tech back into it, but UNC still led 32-26 at half. The Tar Heels shot 36 percent to the Hokies’ 29 percent, and a 23-17 advantage on the boards was key for UNC.
North Carolina scored the first seven points of the second half and, later, took its largest lead of the game at 44-30. Its lead hovered in that range then grew to 20 at the seven-minute mark after consecutive Robinson 3-pointers. Those shots put UNC ahead 63-43 and forced a Virginia Tech timeout at the seven-minute mark.
Robinson and Brooks kept it going and pushed the Tar Heels’ lead to 25 with five minutes to go. From there, North Carolina slowly subbed out its starters and didn't break much of a sweat/
Who stood out?
Robinson’s five 3-pointers all came at crucial moments: two to the start the game, and three in the late second half run that put UNC ahead by 20-plus.