In its 11th game of the season, North Carolina (7-4, 1-1 ACC) slammed The Citadel (5-5), 100-67, on Tuesday night at the Dean E. Smith Center.
The Citadel came out of the gates strong, winning the tip and capitalizing by immediately sinking a three to take the first lead of the game. UNC was able to respond quickly, however, with junior guard Caleb Love making his first 3-point attempt of the night.
From there, the Tar Heels were able to quickly establish dominance and gain a solid lead, forcing multiple transitions and putting in solid performances at the line to create a 15-7 lead by the first media time out.
North Carolina continued its strong defensive showing, putting 15 rebounds and seven offensive rebounds on the board by the seventh minute. The Citadel was able to remain afloat in the game due to an impressive showing from the arch, sinking four wide-open 3-pointers in a row and keeping the Tar Heels in reach with a score of 26-23.
In the final minutes of the first period, UNC was able to pull away largely due to its own run of three made 3-point shots from graduate transfer forward Pete Nance, junior guard RJ Davis, and Love, respectively, to which The Citadel was unable to find an answer. The Tar Heels closed out the half with a 15 point advantage — their largest of the game — to lead 48-33.
Nance sank a floater immediately out of the second half to get the ball rolling on a productive North Carolina offensive effort that would allow the team to extend its lead to 20 within three minutes. From there, UNC was able to completely shut down The Citadel and by the halfway mark of the second half, the Tar Heels wer up 73-46.
With a comfortable 27-point lead, North Carolina emptied the bench and displayed a lineup consisting of first-year guard Seth Trimble, sophomore forward Dontrez Styles, first-year forward Tyler Nickel, first-year forward Jalen Washington and Davis. The second unit stayed in for the remainder of the game and proved to be productive as UNC ended the game with 39 bench points.
Who stood out?
Junior Armando Bacot appeared to be back to full health and was productive on both the offensive and defensive ends, recording another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. With his performance, tonight he broke the North Carolina record for most games with double-digit rebounds with 62.
Love once again found himself leading North Carolina in assists with six, demonstrating his ability to be a playmaker for the team. Additionally he topped the score sheet with 17 points.
When was it decided?
North Carolina seized the lead in the first minute of the game and kept a firm hold of it throughout the rest of the game.
The Citadel hung on through the early minutes of the first half, staying within striking distance of UNC and keeping a comeback within reach. UNC was able to pull away off a 10-0 scoring run with a few minutes remaining in the first half to clinch a double-digit lead, which would ultimately prove to be insurmountable for its opponents.
Why does it matter?
The win today was crucial in order to continue the forward momentum that began with the Tar Heels first win in five games last Saturday against Georgia Tech. With the victory, the team will look to carry its solid form into the all-important upcoming conference games that lie ahead.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will travel to New York City to take on Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday. The game is set to tip-off at 3 p.m.
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