CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The North Carolina men’s basketball team (9-4) defeated Michigan (7-4), 80-76, in the Jumpman Invitational at the Spectrum Center on Wednesday evening.
The Tar Heels struck first when senior forward Armando Bacot scored a dunk on a fastbreak. Fifth-year forward Leaky Black hit a corner three to take a quick 5-0 lead, but a layup and triple from Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard, respectively, equalized the score.
Junior guard Caleb Love and Bacot traded buckets with first-year point guard Dug McDaniel, but the Wolverines built an early lead when Howard hit a three and star center Hunter Dickinson hit a layup. Junior wing Puff Johnson hit a second-chance three to slow down Michigan’s momentum, but the Tar Heels trailed 20-12 until junior guard RJ Davis hit a three.
The bout’s intensity amped up when Love was fouled by Dickinson on a drive and the two proceeded to scuffle, with Bacot and McDaniel getting involved. All four players received Class A technical fouls and Love only hit one of his two free throws. North Carolina’s woes from the charity stripe persisted all half, as the team only went 5-12.
The Tar Heels clawed back to tie the game backed by a fastbreak three from Love, who was also fouled on the attempt. Shortly after, Bacot notched a 3-point play of his own off an and-one post up. Davis hit back-to-back threes to give UNC a nine point lead, and a pair of free throws from Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin trimmed the halftime score to 41-34.
Dickinson missed a layup to open the half, which was capitalized by Bacot’s and-one on the other end. A pair of free throws from Dicksinon and Howard willed the Wolverines back into the game, and treys from Bufkin and Terrance Williams II cut the UNC lead to just three points.
Bacot hit a turnaround fadeaway on Dickinson to slow the Wolverine’s scoring run, but Michigan managed to stay just two possessions behind due to timely scores from Howard. Love poked the ball away for a steal and slammed the ball for a right-hand dunk, and Bacot scored an and-one layup on the next possession.
Michigan transfer guard Joey Baker and Love traded layups, then Bufkin drilled a 3-pointer. A Davis triple helped extend UNC’s lead to 69-60 with 5:45 left to play, but a second-chance layup followed by a Baker connection from downtown kept the Wolverines in the game.