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The Daily Tar Heel

Second half run dooms UNC men’s basketball in 65-58 loss at Virginia

UNC junior RJ Davis (4) shoots against the UVA defense in the second half during North Carolina's game at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. on January 10, 2023. UNC lost 65-58. Photo courtesy of Ryan Hunt.

The North Carolina men’s basketball team (11-6, 3-3 ACC) lost to No. 13 Virginia (12-3, 4-2) on Tuesday night, 65-58, after senior forward Armando Bacot went down with an apparent injury early in the game. 

What happened?

Just under two minutes into the contest, Bacot fell onto the court grabbing his left ankle and went to the bench. Following this, senior Justin McKoy entered the game — relegating UNC to a small ball lineup with the absence of Pete Nance. 

North Carolina couldn’t hit the bottom of the net until nearly five minutes into the game, but the Cavaliers struggled to score as well. At the 14:00 mark, it was UVA 7, UNC 3 and the teams were shooting a combined 4-16 from the field. 

The Cavalier defense disrupted the Tar Heels in the opening 10 minutes — notching three steals and three blocks — but UNC hung around, keeping it at 10-10 at the 10:00 mark. 

In his first four minutes on the court, Jalen Washington set a new career-high with, scoring seven points to help stop the Tar Heels’ bleeding on the offensive end of the court. 

In the last 10 minutes of the half, North Carolina was the better of two sides that struggled to consistently score. This was largely led by bench production, as UNC’s bench outscored its starters 19-10 in the first 20 minutes. The Tar Heels went into the locker room leading, 29-27.  

North Carolina continued to steadily build its lead at the start of the frame, but a 7-0 UVA run gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the half at the 12:52 mark. With the lead, Virginia also took the Tar Heels’ previously-built momentum — going on a 10-2 run after going up. 

Despite its struggles, UNC continued to keep the game within reaching distance, trailing 56-52 at the 5:00 mark. Despite hanging around until the end, North Carolina was simply never able to overcome Virginia’s run, falling 65-58. 

Who stood out? 

Jalen Washington showed impressive flashes in his first meaningful minutes as a Tar Heel. The first-year finished with 13 points, six rebounds and was one of only two North Carolina players with a positive plus-minus.

When was it decided?

After taking the lead just before the midway point of the first half, Virginia outplayed the Tar Heels on both sides of the court. The Cavaliers finished the game on a 25-18 run and a short-handed Tar Heels side could not keep up. 

Why does it matter?

Without both Bacot and graduate forward Pete Nance, the Tar Heels were forced to play a series of unusual lineups. While they were able to keep it close throughout, a North Carolina group without Bacot is limited.  

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in Chapel Hill on Saturday to face a struggling Louisville team.


@dthsports |

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