The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's basketball runs past Boston College with 85-61 win to open ACC Tournament

UNC junior guard RJ Davis (4) dribbles the ball during game against Boston College in the second round of the 2023 New York Life ACC Men's Basketball Tournament tournament on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at Greensboro Coliseum.

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.

What happened?

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.

Who stood out?

UNC’s backcourt led the early scoring explosion with Love and Davis combining for 23 points in the first half. The duo finished the night with 22 and 18, respectively.

The Tar Heels’ bench was also impressive, as the unit recorded 23 points. With potentially three more games in three days awaiting, depth could become a significant factor late in contests.

When was it decided?

Following the Tar Heels’ early eruption, their big lead gave them a comfortable advantage for the rest of the night. Although the Eagles were initially able to take advantage of Bacot’s absence, UNC held on to claim a convincing victory.

Why does it matter?

With UNC likely needing to win all four games in the ACC Tournament to clinch an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, Wednesday’s win helped the Tar Heels inch one step closer to that goal.

While the Tar Heels built their early lead by dominating in the paint, the team also posted one of its best shooting outings of the season by draining 10 of its 24 attempts from deep.

Although North Carolina will live to see another day, Bacot’s injury will have a significant impact on the team’s chances to run the table. With the team’s leading rebounder playing at less than a hundred percent, other players in the frontcourt may be tasked with stepping up in his place.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will face Virginia in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals tomorrow night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.   


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

@dthsports |