Home North Carolina has no trouble with Florida State: Heels dunk ‘Noles, 92-67

North Carolina has no trouble with Florida State: Heels dunk ‘Noles, 92-67

Scott German
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Photo: ACC

Wednesday’s second-round action here at the ACC Tournament provided plenty of drama, with lower seeds winning three of the four games played.

Tha included NC State‘s 83-65 upset of Syracuse, a team to which it lost twice during the regular season, and the late-night game in which Boston College demolished Clemson, 76-55.

That set up a quarterfinal slate that, for the second straight year, included North Carolina’s Big-Four – UNC, Duke, State and Wake Forest.

In Thursday’s quarterfinal opener, North Carolina, the top seed, pulled away early for an easy 93-67 win over #9 seed Florida State.

Leading 26-23 at the 6:02 mark of the first half, UNC went on a 20-7 run to close out the first half to lead 46-30 at the break. Armando Bacot and RJ Davis paced the Tar Heels in the opening half with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Bacot’s first three baskets included a layup and two dunks,

FSU briefly closed the deficit to 12 early in the second half on a three-pointer by De’Ante Green at the 17-minute mark.

UNC then went on a 13-4 run to expand the lead to 62-43 with 13:48 remaining.

The Seminoles would get no closer.

Carolina moves to Friday evening semifinals and awaits the winner of Wake-Pitt.

There have been some times in years past when it appeared as though the ACC tourney wasn’t a top priority for North Carolina.

Former Tar Heel coach Roy Williams once described the tournament as a giant cocktail party.

It was evident from the opening tip, Carolina didn’t make the trip to Washington this year for a social event.

North Carolina hasn’t won this tournament since 2016.

Bacot said earlier in the week that the team was embracing the tourney as “desperate.”

Today the Tar Heels played like it, and FSU felt it.

Davis, recently named the ACC Player of the Year, led UNC with 18 points. Bacot and Cormac Ryan scored 14 apiece.

Six UNC players finished with at least eight points.

Thursday was a game of balance for North Carolina.

During the regular season, UNC had dispatched the Seminoles twice, but the Tar Heels needed second-half rallies to secure victory.

Entering Thursday’s contest, the old adage that it’s difficult to beat a team three times in the same season would apply, and that possibly FSU may simply be a tough matchup for Carolina.

The Tar Heels would have none of that nonsense.

UNC had by far their easiest time this season against the Seminoles.

Whatever FSU had figured out against UNC got unfigured on the trip to Washington.

Tar Heel coach Hubert Davis said after the win: “I was just really proud of the guys. At the beginning, we talked about what will allow us to have success against a really good Florida State team, and we needed to get after it defensively. We needed to rebound the basketball, and we also talked about doing a better job of making the easy play and limiting turnovers, because the last time we played them, we had 17 turnovers.”

If North Carolina is indeed taking a desperation approach to the tourney, then the rest of the field may be in trouble.

Scott German

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.