On a freezing cold night in Chapel Hill, the North Carolina basketball team (12-4, 4-1 ACC) brought the heat, blowing past the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-9, 1-5 ACC), 88-65 to pick up their fourth conference win of the 2021-2022 season.
Following their runaway win against Virginia, the Tar Heels got out to a hot start against the Yellow Jackets, knocking down two early three-pointers to help take a 12-4 lead heading into the first TV timeout. After the timeout, the score remained relatively steady late into the first half with both teams trading buckets until a three-pointer by RJ Davis pushed the North Carolina lead to double digits with less than six minutes to play, 32-21.
With 4:49 to go, Brady Manek’s and-1 extended the lead to 13 and the Tar Heels kept their foot on the pedal, stretching the lead to 16 to head into the half up, 42-26.
After the break, North Carolina continued their aggressive play on both ends of the floor, pushing the lead to 21 in under three minutes off a mid-range jumper from junior Armando Bacot. The Tar Heels kept cruising late and with 9:50 still left on the clock they expanded their lead even further to 30, 72-42.
Georgia Tech was able to chip away at the lead a little late, but North Carolina kept the momentum until the end due to some stellar performances on both sides of the ball. The Tar Heels were able to spread out the playing time while maintaining their big lead, emerging with their second-largest win of the season, 88-65.
Who stood out?
Bacot led the Tar Heels in scoring, finishing with 29 points and 12 rebounds to give him his seventh consecutive double-double. Davis also had a stellar night for North Carolina, finishing with 21 hard-earned points of his own to go along with six assists and five rebounds.
For Georgia Tech senior wing Jordan Usher led the scoring effort, finishing with 22 points to go along with seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Deivon Smith also added 16 for the Yellow Jackets to go along with three assists.
When was it decided?
After taking a double-digit lead late in the first half with 5:48 to play the Tar Heels didn’t look back, outsourcing the Yellow Jackets 56-44 throughout the remainder of the game. On a night where the turnovers were plentiful, North Carolina was able to make up for their lack of ball security with their shooting – finishing 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from three.
Why does it matter?
Following their loss in South Bend against Notre Dame, the Tar Heels were able to bounce back to win two straight. North Carolina was also able to remain undefeated at home for the 2021-2022 season, stretching their home winning streak to 11.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will be back on the road Tuesday, Jan. 18 as they head to Florida to take on the Miami Hurricanes. Tip-off between the conference foes is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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