UNC put together what may have been their most complete game of the season in Charlotte as they beat Michigan in the Jumpman Invitational, 80-76. Armando Bacot was a huge reason why they were able to turn in a performance like that, as the big man scored 26 points.
Bacot and Hunter Dickinson are two of the better centers in the country, and Bacot has had Dickinson’s number the last two years. Tonight was more of the same for Michigan’s big man, as Dickinson was held to nine points, eight rebounds, and three turnovers before fouling out late. On the flip side, Bacot feasted to the tune of 26 points and five rebounds.
There was a tiff early in the game when Dickinson was playing beyond what could charitably be called physical against Bacot and Caleb Love. Dickinson was getting some extra shots in against Love while he was down after a foul, and the junior guard understandably took exception to that. It resulted in four offsetting technical fouls between the two teams. From there, UNC went on a massive 16-2 run that gave them a lead they did not relinquish.
Carolina built a 41-34 halftime lead on the back of that run. Bacot and Love both had double figures in the first half with RJ Davis not far behind with nine points. The Heels shot 47% from the field in the half while holding the Wolverines to 25%. Even the Heels’ shots from long distance were falling as they hit six first half threes.
In addition to Bacot’s 26, Love finished the game with 18 points, Davis had 19, and Leaky Black nearly recorded a double-double with nine points and ten rebounds. They shot 50% from the field for the game and narrowly out-rebounded Michigan, 40-38.
Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard did their best to keep Michigan in the game. They combined for 39 of their team’s points. The Wolverines shot 43% from the field in the second half and out-scored UNC by three after halftime, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the first half deficit.
The win was a good way to close out the non-conference slate for UNC, giving them a four-game winning streak to take into the final game of 2022 when they travel to Pittsburgh on December 30th at noon.