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Behind Armando Bacot's monster game, North Carolina roughs up UVa, 74-58

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Seven minutes into the second half, Armando Bacot effectively went through Virginia’s Kadin Shedrick on his way to a stick-back basket, leaving Shedrick crumpled on the court and bloodied.

The play perfectly encapsulated the Cavaliers’ 74-58 loss Saturday against North Carolina, a bruising beat-down that ended their seven-game win streak against the Tar Heels.

“They had their way,” UVa coach Tony Bennett said. “... Defensively, we could not stop them.”

It was Virginia’s most lopsided loss to UNC since a 70-52 blowout in 2012.

UVa could not match Carolina’s physical play inside right from the start, and with the officials reluctant to whistle even seemingly significant contact, the Tar Heels used that advantage to power through the visitors.

Virginia (9-6, 3-2 ACC) gave up 11 offensive rebounds, leading to 14 second-chance points, with much of that production coming from the 6-foot-10, 240-pound sophomore, Bacot.

Bacot, a Richmond native and former Trinity Episcopal star, scored 29 points and grabbed 21 rebounds, both career highs.

He is the first player to have 20 points and 20 rebounds against Virginia since Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan did it in 1997.

Forward Brady Manek added 19 for the Tar Heels (11-4, 3-1), and guard Caleb Love scored 16.

“Their frontcourt really took it to us,” said Bennett, who was displeased with the team’s two practices leading up to Saturday’s game. “You have to come into these games with an edge and alert, and I didn’t think we had that.”

In its back-to-back ACC roads wins over Syracuse and Clemson, Virginia had cut down on turnovers and done a better job of limiting second-chance points. But in the first half Saturday, those problems were again problems for Bennett’s team.

Carolina’s first two baskets came off offensive rebounds and stick-backs by Bacot. Bacot and Manek combined to score UNC’s first 15 points as the Heels went up 15-12.

As Virginia adjusted to help more in the paint, Love got going for the Heels, scoring 10 points — including a pair of long, contested 3-pointers — in the final 10 minutes of the half as Carolina took a 31-25 lead to the locker room.

The Tar Heels scored the first five points of the second half, on a Manek 3 and a Bacot dunk, and never looked back. They led by 19 midway through the half, thanks to another Manek 3.

Senior Jayden Gardner, the undersized power forward who transferred from East Carolina, remained UVa’s most consistent scoring threat, scoring in the paint with soft touch on his fadeaways and finishes at the rim. He scored 10 points and had seven rebounds.

Sophomore guard Reece Beekman continued his emergence as an offensive contributor, playing an aggressive game on both ends of the floor and finishing with 13 to lead the Cavaliers.

Former Cavaliers player Justin McKoy, who transferred to Carolina before this season, played eight minutes for the Heels, scored three points and committed three fouls.

After three straight road games, Virginia returns home Wednesday to host rival Virginia Tech.

“Get back to work,” junior guard Armaan Franklin said. “We can’t dwell on this one. There’s always going to be another game.”

Twitter: @RTD_MikeBarber


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