Armando Bacot wasn’t even aware of the record.
As the Tar Heels exited a timeout late in the second half, the Dean E. Smith Center erupted in cheers. On the arena’s four screens was a message that UNC’s star center had tied the school record for games with at least 10 rebounds, having tallied this number in 61 contests.
Bacot looked up momentarily, shrugged a little and laughed off his newest addition to the UNC record book. After North Carolina's 75-59 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the preseason All-American admitted he wasn’t aware of his proximity to history.
“Usually I will know if something is coming up, but actually that was unexpected,” Bacot said. “I mean, they got stats for everything now. So I guess that’s a record.”
But before Bacot posted a 21-point, 13-rebound stat line against the Yellow Jackets, it wasn't clear that he would even play.
Against Indiana on Nov. 30, Bacot suffered a Grade 2 AC joint sprain in his right shoulder, an injury that sidelined him in UNC’s previous contest at Virginia Tech. Leading up to the Tar Heels’ first home conference game, Bacot turned to the advice of an old mentor.
“(My shoulder) is just something I’m going to have to deal with all year, it’s been done before,” he said. “Coach (Roy) Williams — I was talking to him yesterday — he said, ‘Al Wood played through it.’ And they barely had technology back then, so I’ll be fine.”
With Bacot back in the fold, North Carolina made a concerted effort to reinvigorate the Preseason ACC Player of the Year back into its offense.
North Carolina’s four-out offense featured Bacot as the lone post option, and his work down low enabled him to get deep paint touches for easy buckets. In transition, the Richmond, Va. native served as the lead rim runner, earning fast break dunks and establishing position near the restricted area.