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

Bacot had a pretty solid game for someone who wasn’t expected to play.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight game, UNC struggled pretty mightily on the offensive end and took a very annoying loss. For the second straight game, it’s perfectly understandable if your personal answer to a “player of the game” question is no one.

However, you don’t quite have to squint as hard to come up with an answer like you did for the Ohio State game. This time around, there is at least one player who, in context, had a pretty genuinely decent game.

All week in the lead up to this game, the word was that Armando Bacot was not going to play after suffering an ankle injury early against Ohio State. Even going into Sunday afternoon, it appeared that was the case. Then there were picture of him dressed for shootaround. Then word came that he was going through warmups and if all went well he would play. Then suddenly, he was starting.

Bacot completed the crazy turnaround from Wednesday, by getting the start and playing 25 minutes in the Tar Heels’ 56-47 loss to Virginia. He finished as UNC’s second leading scorer, putting up 11 points on 5-8 shooting, while also putting up two rebounds, two blocks, and a steal.

That’s not to say he was perfect, as he went 1-6 from the free throw line, which isn’t ideal for a game where the final margin was nine points. However, the fact that he was playing just days after an injury that most people assumed would keep him out a couple games is pretty remarkable. The fact that he was UNC’s best player is even more impressive.

That was a pretty ugly loss for a variety of reasons, but Bacot doing that against a team that was allowing opponents to shoot just 34% on twos is nothing to sneeze at.