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

Bacot’s big performance helped the Tar Heels avoid an upset on the road.

NCAA Basketball: Elizabeth City at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hitting the road for the first time all season, North Carolina found themselves in a battle against College of Charleston. In front of an amped crowd, the Cougars came out ready, and jumped out to a lead as big as 11 points in the first half.

UNC eventually got their bearings and battled back over the second half and eventually pulled away for a 94-83 win. However once again, they required some clutch performances to eventually pull out the victory. One of those performances came courtesy of Armando Bacot.

Playing a huge role in averting a loss was Bacot, who had a massive performance for the second-straight game. He finished with a game high 24 points, going 10-12 from the field. He also completed a double double by grabbing 12 rebounds. Even beyond that, he notched six blocks, and was a +16 in plus/minus, tied for the highest on the team.

The first half didn’t play out too similarly to how the Brown game did on Friday. College of Charleston did not shoot remotely as well as Brown did, but they used turnovers and second chance points from five offensive rebounds to open up a double digit lead at points. What mostly kept UNC in the game was Bacot. He scored 16 first half points on 6-7 shooting, grabbing five rebounds. He left points on the board, going 4-9 from the free throw line, but he accounted for 44% of the points the Heels scored in the first 20 minutes, and without him, the six-point halftime deficit may have been much worse.

The second half ended up being a more balanced effort as the Heels clawed their way back into the game. Carolina opened the second half on a 23-9 run, during which Bacot scored six points and grabbed five rebounds to help cut off a source from which the Cougars found success in the first half. He didn’t have as big a second half with just eight points, but the rebounds and blocks he put up over the 20 minutes played a big role in the Heels winning the second half 58-41.

CoC kept the game within reach for a while before UNC eventually put them away. During that end of game stretch is where the other main nominees for POTG made their case.

Caleb Love, who had missed a decent chunk of the first half with foul trouble, scored 18 second half points, including 12 of the team’s last 24. He went 10-12 from the free throw line, helping put Charleston away down the stretch. He finished as the team’s second leading scorer at 22 points, also recording seven rebounds and six assists. He would be a perfectly good choice for POTG.

Also playing a big role was Kerwin Walton, who scored 14 points while going 4-6 from three. Three of those makes came in the second half at a crucial junction of the game.

It was another less than pretty win for UNC, but it goes down in the record books as a W. Thanks to Bacot, Love, and others, we didn’t have to deal with it turning into a loss.