Sometimes in basketball, the key player in a game is not the one that scores the most points. Sometimes, the guard who dishes out a bunch of assists had the best game. Sometimes, it’s a player who shutdown a crucial opposing player on defense. Sometimes, it’s the person who came up with the big player in the key moments.
However, sometimes, you don’t need to put too much thought into it, and the player of the game is the guy who scored the most points. That was pretty clearly the situation for North Carolina on Tuesday night.
Armando Bacot led the way for the Tar Heels against Boston College, scoring a game high 20 points on 8-11 shooting, while also grabbing 16 rebounds. Beyond that, he was also +15 according to plus/minus, and it was noticeable when he wasn’t on the floor.
It was a pretty balanced night for Bacot, as he scored an even 10 points in the first half and 10 in the second. Twelve of his boards came in the first 20 minutes, quickly gaining him another double-double. It was an especially notable one, as it took him into a tie for the all-time program record.
Armando Bacot records his 60th double-double of his career, tying Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham for the most in Carolina Basketball history. pic.twitter.com/0WZoMnHz6l— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) January 18, 2023
As he was doing that, UNC was able to get and mostly hold onto a lead that generally stayed between five and ten points. A couple times midway through the second half, they looked on the verge of getting the lead beyond the 11 points it topped out at. Bacot exited to get at rest at the 9:03 mark with UNC leading by eight. By the time he came back in with 5:35 left, the lead was down to one. Bacot only added three more points to his personal tally from there, but in general, things just always seem to run smoother with him in the game.
Beyond his normal good points and rebounds, Bacot also chipped in with three assists. The first came on a nice look to find Pete Nance open for a three, which opened the game’s scoring and got Nance off to a solid start in his return to action. Add in a block and a steal on the defensive end, and it was another generally excellent performance from Bacot.
Beyond that double-double record, Bacot is also closing in on Tyler Hansbrough for the school record for rebounds. Health permitting, it won’t be long before both of those record are the sole property of Armando Bacot.