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Quick Hitters - North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 78-68 home win over Virginia Tech on Monday night.

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 78-68 home win over Virginia Tech on Monday night.

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

  • This was an ACC desperation game for both teams, and Carolina came out on top. Big time win for the Heels.
  • UNC is starting to develop Ben Roethlisberger-level home / road splits. Coach Davis’ club has been embarrassed away from the Smith Center, but is a perfect 10-0 in their own living room.
  • The Tar Heels were by no means perfect, but they secured an important win to kick off this three game home stand. Carolina has six of their next eight at home and have an opportunity to therefore position themselves for one of the all-important top-four ACC Tournament seeds (which earns a double-bye).
  • Just prior to tipoff, Carolina announced that Dawson Garcia would be out for the game attending to a family illness back in Minnesota. Specific details weren’t given, but our thoughts and prayers go out to Garcia and his family.
  • Winning this game without Garcia was a big deal. Had Garcia been available at Notre Dame, Carolina likely would have had one-less blemish on its resume.
  • While Anthony Harris is out for the remainder of the season, it was good to see him on the bench in street clothes tonight.
  • Carolina’s inability to finish at the rim allowed Virginia Tech to hang around longer than they otherwise would have, which also forced the starters to play more minutes. On a week with a full slate of games, the opportunity to rest key starters would have proven invaluable.
  • This performance was by no means perfect by the Tar Heels, but it was a nice response following the Miami and Wake games.
  • The Tar Heels had yet another 20-point performance tonight, this one from Caleb Love. In something of a strange statistical anomaly, it was the sixth game of the season in which Love has scored exactly 22 points.
  • Along with Love, four other Heels reached the double-digit scoring mark; the first time this season Carolina has had five total players do so in the same game.
  • Both Virginia Tech and North Carolina rely so heavily on their starters that the teams combined to score precisely zero bench points in the first half and finished with a combined eight.
  • Surprise, surprise, it’s 10 straight double-doubles for Armando Bacot, tied with Billy Cunningham’s 1964-65 streak for third-longest in Carolina history. Cunningham also holds the longest Tar Heel double-double streak at 40 (wrap your brain around that one). Bacot has also now tied Pete Brennan for 11th in Carolina history in career double-doubles (33). This was also a game in which Bacot had already secured a double-double by halftime.
  • Bacot started the game a sizzling 6-6 from the field and was personally outscoring Virginia Tech 12-6 in the first 5:30 or so. Oddly though, after those six shots, Bacot was 1-13 the rest of the game and wound up with just 14 points.
  • Even though Bacot’s scoring slowed precipitously after the initial flurry, he just kept on consistently rebounding all night and ultimately recorded his second 20-plus rebound game of the season.
  • Bacot is now just three rebounds shy of matching his total from last season, and he’s done so in 10 fewer games. At Bacot’s current rebounding average, if the Tar Heels play three postseason games of some type, he would become just the second ever Tar Heel to break 400 rebounds in a season, joining Brice Johnson in 2015-16.
  • Leaky Black and Bacot each hit statistical milestones tonight. Black has over 100 steals in his career (102) and is the 51st Tar Heel to hit triple digits in that category. Bacot became the 31st Tar Heel ever to make the 700-rebound threshold.
  • After two sub-par three-point shooting performances (by their own standards), Carolina got back to hitting at a 40% clip tonight (10-25).
  • Carolina has held their opponents to single-digit offensive rebounds in all but five contests this season, including six games in a row. Conversely, the Heels have their two highest offensive rebounding totals of the season in the past two games.
  • The Heels had 13 assists on 23 made baskets (56.5% assist percentage). This metric continues to be a strong indicator of the 2021-22 Tar Heels’ success (or lack thereof).
  • Leaky Black secured his first double-digit scoring performance of the season, including hitting two threes.
  • Leaky got poked in the eye during a loose-ball scrum in the second half and had to come out for a while. Thankfully he was able to come back in rather quickly after some attention from athletic trainer Doug Halverson. In postgame, Black said, “Doug did his little Doug thing and I was able to get back out there.”
  • It turns out that Bacot’s technical foul with 12:35 remaining was a big deal after all. Bacot picked up a technical foul, his second personal, and it felt innocuous at the time. Famous last words. Bacot eventually fouled out with 2:29 still remaining. Forgive me for nit-picking at Bacot, even in the midst of an incredible personal run, but you can’t lose your composure in moments like that. The technical didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but it was, and it ultimately could have cost Carolina the victory.
  • Brady Manek had a second-half tip dunk that really brought to life the Smith Center crowd just before the under-4:00 media timeout. He followed it up with a three pointer, followed by a skip pass to the corner for an RJ Davis three. Great sequence for Manek.
  • Just a friendly observation about an opponent. Tech’s Justyn Mutts has some crafty, odd-angled, wily ole' veteran post moves.
  • Armando Bacot is sitting at 984 career points and will likely become the 79th 1,000-point scorer in Carolina history either Wednesday night against Boston College or Saturday against NC State. 
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Box Score

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Hubert Davis postgame press conference

Players postgame press conference

Armando Bacot

 Leaky Black 

Brady Manek

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a home game against Boston College on Wednesday, January 26. Tip is at 7:00pm ET on RSN.

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