GREENSBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina men’s basketball team (20-12, 11-9 ACC) used an early first-half run to defeat Boston College (16-17, 9-11 ACC), 85-61, and advance to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
Facing an undersized Boston College starting lineup, the Tar Heels made a conscious effort to attack inside and scored 10 points in the paint by the first media timeout. The Eagles were able to keep it close with a series of jumpers from Makai Ashton-Langford, as UNC held a 15-10 lead.
The Tar Heels began to open it up from the perimeter with two triples from RJ Davis and another from D’Marco Dunn to spark a 16-2 run. On the defensive end, UNC stymied Boston College to just three field goals over an eight-minute stretch to cement a 33-16 advantage with 7:09 to play in the half.
After Davis banked in a 3-pointer to extend the lead, sophomore forward Dontrez Styles nailed one of his own to widen the gap to 19. Everything seemed to be going the Tar Heels’ way until the 4:34 mark, when senior forward Armando Bacot went to the locker room with a left ankle injury.
With Bacot off the floor, the Eagles went to work inside the paint to close the gap, but UNC still led 43-29 at the break.
Despite moving gingerly in second half warmups, Bacot took the floor to open the second half. He immediately posted up on the right block and scored, and a Caleb Love and-one finish gave the Tar Heels the first five points. Love soon nailed a triple, and UNC ballooned the lead to 24 at the under-16 timeout.
Boston College went on an 11-2 run before UNC weathered the storm with a flurry of baskets of its own to hold a 20-point advantage with 7:56 remaining.
The back-and-forth play continued for the next several minutes, as several UNC reserves helped the team stay efficient on the offensive end. The closing moments ticked away, and the Tar Heels sealed the sizable victory.