Despite the wins in the two previous games, Tuesday’s trip to Pittsburgh was a tricky one for North Carolina. The Panthers are a potential NCAA Tournament team and were undefeated at home. Their lowest margin of victory in the Petersen Events Center was six over Duke, and just over a week ago they beat Syracuse by 20 at home. The Panthers aren’t world beaters, but if UNC looked past them, it had the potential to be a really annoying game.
As it played out, the Tar Heels won pretty handily. The first half was back and forth, and there was a brief run by Pitt in the second, but for the most part Carolina kept the Panthers at arm’s length. They did so in part thanks to the increasingly impressive Armando Bacot.
For the second consecutive game, Bacot led the Heels in scoring, and it was the third-straight and fourth in the last five where he dropped 15. He also had a big day on the glass, putting up a double double as UNC beat Pitt 75-65.
Bacot finished with 21 points on an efficient 8-10 shooting, also going 5-6 from the line. He also grabbed 10 rebounds as the Heels again won the rebounding battle comfortably. Beyond that, he had two assists and chipped in on the defensive end with three blocks.
Ten of his points came in the second half of 3-3 shooting, as UNC extended their lead and withstood a rally. His free throws with 37 seconds left put the cherry on top of the team’s second-straight double digit point win.
Besides Bacot, UNC got good contributions from two of his frontcourt mates. Garrison Brooks bounced back after struggling against NC State, scoring 16 points on 8-11 shooting with six rebounds. Day’Ron Sharpe only played 16 minutes, but in them, he managed to put up six points, and seven rebounds, and was a game high +11 in plus/minus.
Kerwin Walton also had a solid game, putting up 10 points after knocking down two threes.
UNC’s trip to Pitt was going to be a test. They didn’t necessarily ace it, but I would say they got a very good A-. They got a very solid win thanks in large part to Armando Bacot and his increasingly impressive play.