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UNC vs. Elon - Player of the Game: Armando Bacot

This time it was a different freshman putting up big numbers for the Tar Heels.

NCAA Basketball: Elon University at North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

After four games of Cole Anthony ruling the headlines, this game was one for UNC’s other starting freshman.

With most of the rest of the team struggling a bit, Armando Bacot was the star of the Tar Heels’ 75-61 win over Elon. The center led all scorers with 22 points on 9-14 shooting, while grabbing 14 rebounds for his second-straight double double. He filled up the stat sheet all over the place, also finishing with three blocks, two assists, and two steals.

UNC went into halftime down one, but turned it on in the second half to pull away without running into genuine danger in the final couple minutes. Bacot was the main weapon in those last 20 minutes. Of his total 22 and 14, he put 18 points and eight rebounds in his 14 second half minutes. He also had four offensive rebounds in total, leading to three points in the insuring possessions.

While some of this also had to do with Elon’s playing style, Bacot’s frontcourt mate and more, but the freshman was also part of a defensive effort that led to the Phoenix scoring just 14 points and going 3-11 on layups. His +18 plus/minus was nearly double the next best Tar Heel.

Bacot is the only logical winner of player of the game, but other people of note include his aforementioned frontcourt partner. Garrison Brooks finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

As for Anthony, this was probably his worst game so far, but he did notably flirt with a triple double. He mightily struggled shooting, going 4-14, but finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.

The Tar Heels’ win over Elon was far from pretty and against far from the toughest competition they’ll face this season. Thankfully, Bacot picked a great time to have his breakout game.