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No. 3 UNC men's basketball survives on the road at Miami, 75-72

2023-2-14 Lam, UNC v Miami-1-3.jpg

Then UNC junior guard RJ Davis (4) dribbles the ball during the men's basketball game against Miami at the Dean E. Smith Center on Monday, Feb. 14, 2023. Miami beat 80-72.

The No. 3 North Carolina men's basketball team (19-5, 11-2 ACC) fended off a late-game push from Miami (15-9, 6-7 ACC) to pull away with a 75-72 road win.

The matchup down low between Miami's Norchad Omier and UNC graduate center Armando Bacot — both All-ACC forwards — was key to this game. Omier had 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Bacot posted 10 points and 15 boards.

UNC first-year guard Elliot Cadeau scored a career-high 19 points to go with eight assists. UNC senior guard RJ Davis had 25 points — including 5-11 on 3-pointers — while Miami's Nijel Pack got hot early, going 4-6 from three in the first half en route to 20 points on the night.

UNC started the game strong, rising to a 15-4 lead over Miami in the first five minutes, but the Hurricanes battled back and took the lead towards the end of the half. Omier and Pack put up 34 of Miami's 41 first half points — the Hurricanes scored 38 total points against Virginia the game prior.

North Carolina pushed back ahead in the second half, led by a far more aggressive Bacot. Putting up six points and three rebounds in the first 10 minutes of the half, Bacot brought the Tar Heels back to life. These moves also landed Bacot his 79th career double-double, putting him as the third all-time leader for double-doubles in the ACC. During this time, Omier fell into foul trouble with three fouls, including a technical.

However, four Tar Heel turnovers in the final four minutes gave the Hurricanes life. Miami went on an 8-1 run over a three minute stretch, with guard Wooga Poplar's drive cutting UNC's lead to 73-71. In a crucial defensive possession, Bacot blocked Omier in isolation down low, regaining possession for the Tar Heels with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Miami sent North Carolina to the free throw line twice in the last 30 seconds — allowing UNC junior forward Harrison Ingram and graduate guard Cormac Ryan to extend UNC's lead to 75-71 — but then failed to find the net on offense. Poplar made one free throw after being fouled by Bacot, but the Hurricanes were unable to stop North Carolina in the last two seconds to send the game into overtime.

The Tar Heels will face Syracuse on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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