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Thursday January 20th

UNC men's basketball opens ACC play with 79-62 win at Georgia Tech

UNC sophomore guard RJ Davis (4) dribbles into the paint during UNC basketball's home game against Michigan on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. UNC won 72-51.
Buy Photos UNC sophomore guard RJ Davis (4) dribbles into the paint during UNC basketball's home game against Michigan on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. UNC won 72-51.

The North Carolina men’s basketball team (6-2, 1-0 ACC) picked up its first conference win Sunday in Atlanta with a 79-62 blowout victory over Georgia Tech (5-3, 0-1 ACC). 

What happened?

After starting the game hot on a 12-4 run, the Tar Heels cooled down, allowing Georgia Tech to take its second lead of the day halfway through the first half off a three-pointer from Khalid Moore. Moore and the Yellow Jackets kept their foot on the pedal after taking the early momentum, stretching the Georgia Tech lead to eight with 3:53 left on the clock. 

Led by the guards, UNC battled back late in the first, going on an 8-0 run to tie things back up at 29 with 1:12 left to play. The teams traded jumpers from the paint to finish off the back-and-forth half and things were all even heading into the locker rooms, 31-31.

Coming out of the half, both teams traded blows to head into the first timeout tied at 35. After the break, the Tar Heels got things rolling, going on a 13-4 run to take their biggest lead of the day at 48-39 with 14:01 remaining. UNC continued its hot second-half start, extending their lead to 17 with a little over eight minutes left on the clock. 

Georgia Tech battled to the end, shaving a few points off the deficit late in the second, but the Tar Heels didn’t look back. UNC maintained its big lead and emerged from McCamish Pavilion with a 79-62 victory to avenge consecutive losses against the Yellow Jackets.   

Who stood out? 

Sophomore guard RJ Davis led the scoring efforts for the Tar Heels, shooting 8-11 from the field and 4-6 from the three-point line to finish the day with 24 points. Graduate Brady Manek, junior Armando Bacot and sophomore Caleb Love also finished in double figures, combining for 47 points and 24 rebounds. 

For the Yellow Jackets, Michael Devoe led the way, finishing with 15 points and four rebounds. Moore and Dallan Coleman also finished in double figures with 13 apiece.   

When was it decided?

After heading into the break tied at 31, UNC looked like a different team on both sides of the floor in the second half. Following the first TV timeout, the Tar Heels took all the momentum, outscoring Georgia Tech 44-27 for the remainder of the game.

Why does it matter?

Sunday’s road win over Georgia Tech gives first-year head coach Hubert Davis an impressive first ACC win in front of a passionate crowd in Atlanta. The win also snaps UNC’s two-game losing streak against the Yellow Jackets. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in the Smith Center on Dec. 11 as they play host to the Elon Phoenix in Chapel Hill. Tip-off for the instate contest is scheduled for 8 p.m.  

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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