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UNC takes care of Lehigh, 90-68

Still unbeaten and still figuring some things out

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

R.J. Davis and Armando Bacot got off to hot starts and the North Carolina Tar Heels took care of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks without too many problems, 90-68. The Heels led by as many as 15 before halftime, and fended off a flurry of jump shooting from Lehigh and a cold streak of their own to eventually pull away in the last 10 minutes of the second half and win their second straight game to open the season.

While the story of the first game was the newcomers’ early impact, this game started out with the teams’ two veteran leaders making their marks early. Davis scored 7 early points and 13 in the first half, while Bacot had a first-half double-double including getting up to 10 rebounds in the first 10 minutes of action. Compared to the hot-shooting, offensively flowing start of the Radford game, the UNC offense was a little cooler to start out against Lehigh. The Heels hit just 3 of 9 attempts from distance in the first half, all of the makes coming from Davis, and had assists on only 6 of 16 field goals. Nevertheless, they rode Bacot’s domination on the boards to an early big lead, before the Hawks fought back with a streak of jump shots crossing the halftime break that got them as close as within 3 points. From there, it was all Heels. UNC hit back with a 14-2 run to get the lead back up to 15 with just under 10 minutes to go, and didn’t stop there. The last 10 minutes were all Tar Heels, as UNC rode improved defense and ball movement to a lead that got up to 25 before the walk-ons on both sides finished the game out and got to the final margin.

Davis and Bacot were the big contributors, each tallying 22 points on 8/14 shooting. Davis was 3/6 from distance and added 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Bacot was a perfect 6/6 from the free-throw line and also had 20 rebounds, collecting his third 20-20 game and adding a block and two steals of his own. Even better for the Heels was that both did that in under 30 minutes of game time; Davis tallied 29 minutes and Bacot played 26. Harrison Ingram was the only other Tar Heel to score in double figures, as the rest of UNC’s contributions came from all over the lineup. Ingram’s 14 points came on 6/11 shooting, and he added 7 rebounds. While he didn’t have quite the impact all over the box score that he did against Radford, he did lead the team with a +24 plus-minus in his 28 minutes of playtime.

UNC will complete its season-opening homestand with a game against UC-Riverside on Friday before embarking on the Battle 4 Atlantis during Thanksgiving week.