Paced by a commanding 18-0 run to start to the game, the North Carolina men’s basketball team (18-7, 10-4 ACC) ran away from Florida State (13-11, 6-8 ACC), to pick up a 94-74 win on Saturday afternoon in the Dean E. Smith Center.
The Tar Heels began the game locked in defensively, as they forced the Seminoles to miss their first six shots. On the offensive side, two triples by sophomore guard Caleb Love and graduate forward Brady Manek led to a Florida State timeout with UNC leading 8-0 at the under-16 mark.
Over the next two and half minutes, the trend continued.
Florida State still couldn’t score, while UNC added 10 more points to widen the gap to 18-0 before Seminole coach Leonard Hamilton was forced to burn another timeout with 13:27 remaining in the half.
The Seminoles made their first field goal with 11:32 left on the clock, but by then, the Tar Heels were already up 24-1.
Over the next several minutes, UNC continued to shine offensively – namely by attacking the basket and finding cutters slashing toward the rim. In one stretch, the Tar Heels made 11 of 12 shots to bring the score to 35-10 at the under-8 timeout.
For the remainder of the half, the rest of the offense opened up, and the Tar Heels started to rain jumpers from the perimeter. The team shot 9-12 from deep in the half, including five makes from Love. While Florida State was able to slowly add some points, UNC continued to create separation and led by 38 entering the break – the largest halftime lead for the team in a conference game in the Smith Center.
The Seminoles went on an 8-0 run early in the second, but after missing four of their first five shots, the Tar Heels rediscovered their rhythm and built the lead to nearly 40 points midway through the half.
Florida State actually outscored UNC by 18 in the second half, but with an insurmountable gap between the two teams and the outcome hardly in question, the Tar Heels ran a deep rotation the rest of the way and coasted to a 94-74 victory.
Who stood out?
Although four players finished in double figures, the Tar Heels were paced by the backcourt tandem of Love and sophomore guard RJ Davis, who tallied 18 and 16 points, respectively.
After recording 17 points and 14 rebounds, junior big man Armando Bacot registered his 19th double-double of the season, which ranks second in the nation.
When was it decided?
Following the hot start, the Tar Heels continued to push past the Seminoles, and led by as many as 39 points in the first half. Head coach Hubert Davis stretched his rotation in the opening half, as eight different players scored for the team.
Why does it matter?
The win brings UNC to 10-4 in ACC play – just a half-game behind Duke and Notre Dame for the conference lead. The dominant display should also give the team momentum as it looks to move its way off the NCAA Tournament bubble, where it is currently projected as one of the last four teams in the field.
When do they play next?
UNC will face Pittsburgh (9-16, 4-10 ACC) at home on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. tip-off. The Tar Heels won the last meeting between the two teams, 75-65, last January when they faced off in Pittsburgh.
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