The North Carolina men’s basketball team (13-6, 5-3 ACC) defeated Boston College (8-11, 2-6 ACC) 72-64 Tuesday night at the Dean E. Smith Center in a game in which senior center Armando Bacot tied the program record for career double-doubles.
After missing their first shot, North Carolina made their next three, taking an emphatic 8-2 lead. Graduate forward Pete Nance scored six of those points, making two three-pointers in his return to the court after a three-game absence. Boston College responded with six straight points to tie the game up but the Tar Heels quickly gained the lead back using a 10-2 run over the next four minutes.
After a three-minute period in which neither team was able to score, sophomore guard RJ Davis got the Tar Heels started again with a three-pointer. The next two UNC buckets came from Bacot with the latter one coming with 3:42 left in the first half, giving him a double-double and tying Billy Cunningham’s record for double-doubles.
Down the stretch of the first half, Boston College guard Jaeden Zackery and center Quinten Post helped the Eagles stay in the game. The duo scored a combined 12 points, including eight from Zackery, to combat the consistent UNC offensive barrage, keeping the score close going into halftime at 31-26.
The scoring came quickly for both sides to begin the second half with the Tar Heels outsourcing Boston College 14-9 in the first four minutes of the half. Davis doubled his first-half scoring total, scoring six points, making two three-pointers in a row. The two ACC foes traded buckets for the next seven minutes, with UNC holding onto a 54-47 lead. However, Boston College mounted a comeback, getting the score within one with just over six minutes. However, junior guard Caleb Love helped to extend the lead back out to six, nailing a jumper and three-pointer in succession. While the Eagles tried to get back into the game, they were unable to keep UNC in check on the offensive end, and the Tar Heels won the game.
Who stood out?
With all other players having a slow night offensively, Bacot and Davis led the charge for North Carolina with 20 and 18 points, respectively. Bacot also got his 60th double-double in his UNC career, with 16 rebounds on the night. Love rebounded from a rough first half in which he shot 2-for-9 to score 12 points in the second half for a total of 18 points on the night.
For Boston College, Zackery and Post stood out for the Eagles in part due to a strong first half, combining for 18 of the 26 first-half points for the Eagles. However, in the second half, Zackery was slowed down due to being guarded by graduate forward Leaky Black, and Post was hampered by foul trouble, but still found a way to make an impact before fouling out, scoring nine points and going 4-for-5 from the field.
When was it decided?
While Boston College was able to get within a point with 6:07 left, Bacot, Davis and Love carried the North Carolina offense down the stretch, scoring 16 points combined after the Eagles nearly took the lead back.
Why does it matter?
The win for UNC improves their conference record to two games over .500. In addition, since their four-game losing streak, the Tar Heels have gone 8-2, giving them needed momentum as they head into one of their toughest stretches this season as for nearly a month straight, they’ll play the top eight teams in the ACC.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will return to the Dean E. Smith Center on Saturday for a rivalry game against NC State in what has the potential to be the most heated game so far this season for the Tar Heels.
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