The North Carolina men’s basketball team (2-0) stayed in the win column with a victory over Lehigh University (0-3), 90-68, at the Dean E. Smith Center on Sunday afternoon.
Graduate center Armando Bacot led the Tar Heel offense with his second double-double of the season – 22 points and 20 rebounds. Senior guard RJ Davis and junior forward Harrison Ingram were also instrumental in the victory as the only Tar Heels in the rotation who could drain 3-pointers. The duo chipped in 22 and 14 points, respectively.
Both the Tar Heels and Lehigh started off cold, going into the first media timeout with only 15 total points. First-year guard Elliot Cadeau and sophomore forward Jalen Washington were early substitutions for the Tar Heels.
Throughout the first frame, the Tar Heels and Lehigh – on the catch-and-shoot – traded baskets and fouls as the Tar Heels slowly started inching away. However, UNC could not find a rhythm when it came to shooting on the perimeter. RJ Davis looked to fix the lackluster 3-point percentage as he scored the only threes in the first period.
“That's kind of the plus, it's being able to have three-point shooters,” sophomore guard Seth Trimble said.”But today the [shots] didn't fall but luckily we were able to dominate the ball inside side we didn't have to stress about so much.”
Ingram, the left-handed finisher, chipped in a few buckets and rebounds for the Tar Heels.
With four minutes to go in the first half and UNC up by nine points, graduate transfer Jae’lyn Withers scored on hot-potato possession after a failed fast break by RJ Davis. Lehigh pulled closer to the Tar Heels by a couple 3-pointers while stretching the perimeter and steering clear of the post. The Tar Heels went into the locker room at the half up 43-34 behind leading scorers RJ Davis and Bacot.
The Tar Heels opened in the second half with an and-one layup from RJ Davis. Bacot followed that play up with a lay-in three minutes into the half as UNC maintained its lead.
“There's a sense of urgency that I haven't seen in [Bacot]. And I think because this is it. There's no more years after this,” head coach Hubert Davis said. "And there's a passion and there's a desire in him, to leave on a good note, whatever that looks like.”