CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Armando Bacot recorded a double-double and led four North Carolina players in double figures for scoring and the No. 16 Tar Heels beat North Carolina Central 73-67 at Smith Center on Saturday.
Bacot shot 6-for-7 from the field and made 7 of his 10 free throws, while grabbing 11 rebounds for North Carolina (4-2).
Freshman Day’Ron Sharpe added 12 points and six rebounds, fellow college rookie Caleb scored 12 points and four assists and Andrew Platek had 11 points for the Tar Heels, who used a 10-0 run midway in the second to help setup the win.
“Well, I think in the first half he was the only offense,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “You look down (at the stat shoot) and he’s 6-for-7 from the floor, 7-for-10 from the line, 11 rebounds, and only one turnover – so he didn’t get bit by the turnover bug. So I think Armando was really good for us.”
“Caleb shoots the ball well, Puff can really shoot, Kerwin can really shoot it, R.J. shoots it well – but they haven’t done it in games. And so those two threes by Andrew were really big for us, there’s no question about that,” he added.
C.J. Keyser paced N.C. Central with 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go with five rebounds. Justin Whatley finished with 13 points and Nicolas Fennell ended with 11 for the Eagles (1-3), who shot 44.8% from the field and 42.1% from 3-point range.
North Carolina trailed 19-8 with 11:38 left in the first half and also had a 26-17 deficit with 6:53 to play in the same period before using a 10-2 run to close the half to lead 30-28 at the break.
N.C. Central scored the first basket to start the second half, but the Tar Heels used another run to build a 15 point lead and then hold off a strong finish from the visitors.
The Eagles were down by 15 points with 1:27 left in the game, but lost by six in the end after scoring nine straight points – three free throws and back-to-back triples.
North Carolina outrebounded N.C. Central 37-25 and outscored the visitors 36-26 in points in the paint. The Tar Heels shot 46.0% from the floor on 23-for-50 attempts, but went just 2-for-15 from long range.