Armando Bacot racked up 21 points and 13 rebounds and Caleb Love broke out of a slump with 18 points as North Carolina defeated visiting Notre Dame 81-64 on Saturday at Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Tar Heels opened a double-digit lead in the first half and were in control most of the way from there. R.J. Davis added 13 points and five assists for North Carolina (11-5, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Nate Laszewski scored 17 points and Dane Goodwin and J.J. Starling both had 10 for Notre Dame (8-8, 0-5), which shot 41.7 percent from the field and 50.0 percent on free throws.
Love scored a total of 14 points in North Carolina’s previous two games on 6-for-24 shooting from the field.
The Tar Heels won two games this week after stumbling at Pittsburgh, giving them victories in six of their last seven games.
North Carolina’s lead wavered between 16 and seven points for most of the second half. At 61-54, Davis hit a jumper and Notre Dame didn’t score on its next three possessions.
The Irish scored their last six points on free throws. They didn’t have a field goal in the final four minutes.
North Carolina ended with a 45-32 rebounding advantage.
Love and Bacot combined for 25 first-half points. The 13 from Love were notable as he was 3-for-4 on 3-point attempts in the half and the Tar Heels shot 50 percent from the field.
North Carolina used a 16-5 run to go up 33-23 on the way to a 41-28 halftime lead.
It was particularly important for the Tar Heels that Love perked up as they played without starting swingman Pete Nance because of a back injury. Fifth-year player Leaky Black, who had a career-high 18 points Wednesday night versus Wake Forest, didn’t score until less than 7 1/2 minutes remained.
Notre Dame lost in its fifth straight trip to Chapel Hill.
–Field Level Media