The Virginia Cavaliers have owned the Tar Heels recently – winning the last seven matchups between two of the top programs in the conference, but that changed Saturday afternoon when Carolina defeated UVA 74-58 inside the Dean Dome.
Armando Bacot set the tone and led UNC early – dominating the boards on the way to his best performance as a Tar Heel – finishing with 29 points and 21 rebounds against a team he has struggled against during his career in Chapel Hill.
“Coming into the game I didn’t know what to expect,” Bacot said after the win. “They double team so hard and make it hard for us bigs to score, so I told my teammates I could be the best screener and do my best to help us get the win. I would be lying to you if I said I expected to play this good this game, but it was great.”
“I didn’t know he had 29 points and 21 rebounds,” Coach Hubert Davis said. “I know he played a really good game, but when I saw the stat sheet I was like ‘oh my gosh.’ The last time I’ve personally seen a stat line like that was Brice Johnson when we played at Florida State. I think he had 39 points and 23 rebounds. That’s the last time I’ve seen a dominant force like that, and to be able to do it against a Virginia team that is very physical and tries to double team you every time you put the ball on the floor in the block…that’s best performance I’ve seen from anybody against Virginia.”
In addition to Bacot’s 29 points, Brady Manek added 19 points on 7-13 shooting (including 5-9 from three) and Caleb Love finished with 16 points and five assists.
It was the type of performance the Tar Heels needed coming off a disappointing loss to Notre Dame earlier in the week where Coach Davis challenged his squad’s energy, effort and toughness.
Now the question is if UNC will be able to sustain the momentum gained from this win. The Heels have struggled with staying consistent and with an entire week off before they face Georgia Tech that will be a focus of the team going forward.
“I’m excited to get back to practice next week and build on what we’re doing,” Coach Davis said. In the locker room after the game I told the team that one of the things they should be encouraged and motivated by is that you guys have experienced the benefit of playing the energy, effort and toughness. So, that should be an encouragement and motivation to continue to have that feeling.”
- Tar Heels are 8-0 at home this season.
- The win snapped a seven-game losing streak to Virginia. It was UNC’s first win over the Cavaliers since 2/18/2017.
- It was the first time UNC scored 70 points against Virginia in 10 games, since a 79-74 loss in Charlottesville on 2/27/2016.
- This was the eighth consecutive win this season in which the Tar Heels held the opposition to 65 or fewer points.
- This was the fourth time this season UNC held an opponent under 60 points.
- This was the fifth time in the last 10 meetings the Tar Heels held Virginia below 60 points.
- Carolina made 11 threes, the second straight time the Tar Heels made 11 3FGs in a win (also at Boston College).
• Carolina led by as many as 25 points. The 25-point deficit was Virginia’s largest of the season (previous 23 vs. Houston on 11/16).
- Armando Bacot set career highs in points (29), field goals (12), rebounds (22) and offensive rebounds (9).
• Bacot is the second Tar Heel with 20-plus rebounds in the Smith Center. Sean May did it three times (24 vs. Duke on 3/62005, 21 vs. Duke on 2/5/2004 and 21 vs. Akron on 12/14/2003).
- Bacot’s 22 rebounds are the second most by any player in a collegiate game in the Smith Center.
- Bacot is the first Tar Heel with 20 points and 20 rebounds since Brice Johnson had 39 and 23 at Forida State on 1/4/2016.
- Bacot is the first player to have 20/20 against Virginia since Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan had 21 and 23 in 1997.
- This was Bacot’s sixth straight game with a double-double and 11th in 15 games this season. He came into the game second in the country in double-doubles.
- Most rebounds by an ACC player in a game since Zach Auguste, Notre Dame, 22 vs. Duke, 3/10/16, in the ACC Tournament.
- Most rebounds by an ACC player in a regular-season league game UNC’s Johnson, 23 at FSU on 1/4/16.
- Bacot passed the 900-point mark. He has 914 in 76 games as a Tar Heel.
- Brady Manek had a career-high five assists and also hit five three-pointers. His 19 points were his highest total since he had 24 against Tennessee on 11/21.
- Manek has 263 career three-pointers.
- Manek shared team honors in assists with Caleb Love, who also had five. This was the first time Manek led or shared the team lead in assists.
- Love made four threes, had 16 points and five assists. He tied his career high in threes, the fourth time this season and fifth time as a Tar Heel he made four in a game (this season vs. Michigan, Elon, Boston College and Virginia).
- Bacot (29), Manek (19) and Love (16) combined to score 64 of Carolina’s 74 points.
- Justin McKoy, who transferred to UNC from Virginia, had three points. He was unavailable the last two games due to Covid protocols.
- Kerwin Walton and Dawson Garcia were unavailable today.
- Will Shaver, who signed with Carolina in November, will begin school when classes commence on Monday. Shaver is practicing with the team but will not play this season. He was on the bench but not in uniform this afternoon.
- UNC leads, 132-60
- UNC is 67-9 in Chapel Hill and 25-6 in the Smith Center.
Next Game: Saturday, January 15 vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m. (ACC Network)