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Bacot dominates paint, keys North Carolina in 74-58 win over Virginia

uva basketball
Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia couldn’t keep Armando Bacot off the glass, or away from the rim. That was the difference in a 74-58 North Carolina win on Saturday in Chapel Hill.

Well, that, and the 11 threes by the Tar Heels – five from Brady Manek, four from Caleb Love.

Threes have been an Achilles heel for UVA (9-6, 3-2 ACC) in losses this season. Navy, Houston and Iowa each went for double-digits in made threes.

Bacot’s dominance in the paint was the story in this one, though. The 6’11” Richmond native finished with 29 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and was 12-of-16 on shots at the rim on the afternoon.

UNC (11-4, 3-1 ACC) led 31-25 at the half, and broke things open with a 10-0 run over a nearly four-minute stretch midway through the final 20 minutes.

A Kihei Clark three had gotten Virginia back to 47-38 with 13:33 to go, but the Cavaliers went scoreless for the next 3:52 as the Heels opened a 57-38 lead, punctuated by a stepback Manek three with 10:15 left.

Manek finished with 19 points, and Love had 16 for Carolina, which shot 47.5 percent from the floor and was 11-of-25 (44.0 percent) from three.

Reece Beekman led Virginia with 13 points.

What happened?

It was almost literally all Bacot, with just a dash of Manek and Love.

Bacot had 21 of UNC’s 36 rebounds, nine of the Heels’ 11 offensive boards, 24 of their 30 points in the paint, 12 of their 13 makes at the rim.

All four of Love’s makes from three were contested. Manek had maybe one unadulterated look from behind the arc.

Basketball is a make-or-miss game. Bacot made a lot of shots at the rim, and Love and Manek made a lot of contested threes.

Virginia’s offense

The Cavaliers had things running nicely in their road wins at Syracuse and Clemson. Honestly, the numbers weren’t awful on Saturday.

Virginia was 6-of-12 from three, obviously 50 percent. The ‘Hoos got 18 looks at the rim. The issue was, only made eight of them. UNC defenders were only credited with three blocked shots, but a lot were contested.

Beekman was 6-of-12 from the field, including 1-of-3 from three, and had four assists.

Clark had a rough day: nine points, 3-of-11 shooting, two assists and two turnovers.

Armaan Franklin had 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Jayden Gardner had 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

The centers, Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro, had posted a cumulative 16 points and eight rebounds in 37 total minutes in the win over Clemson on Tuesday. They had a total of two points and two rebounds in 37 minutes on Saturday.

On a day that saw the other team’s five go absolutely bonkers, there’s the game.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press