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

The big man is getting his groove back.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Tar Heels survived yet another very physical ACC road game when they took down Clemson yesterday afternoon 65-55. It feels redundant at this point to say that it wasn’t pretty — the Heels have won a few not-at-all pretty games this season thanks to how physical games have gotten — but UNC were able to get a little bit more done than the Tigers in order to come away with the victory. The biggest key to what they were able to get done was a guy that has been looking more like his normal self over the last few games: Armando Bacot.

Bacot finished his afternoon with 14 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, all while making 6 of his 11 shots from the field. While all of these numbers are impressive, the most important thing that Bacot accomplished on the floor was limiting Clemson’s PJ Hall to just 10 points and five rebounds. There is always a lot of conversation about Bacot’s offensive abilities, but what he was able to do against one of the better bigs in the ACC was impressive, especially since Hall is very capable of stretching the floor. Normally a 37.9% three-point shooter, Hall was 0-5 from deep, and was held to just four points in the second half.

We have truly seen a better version of Bacot ever since UNC’s loss to Kentucky, and a lot of that has to do with how aggressive he has been. He has been commanding the ball a lot more, fighting harder on the boards, and as mentioned before, has been strong on defense. Considering how teams have been playing the Heels as of late, Bacot being tougher on both sides of the ball has been huge, even when things don’t quite go according to plan. Hubert Davis has to be loving what he’s seeing from one of his best players, and hopefully we see some consistency in his game as we get deeper into conference play.

Speaking of getting deeper into conference play, next up for the Tar Heels will be NC State at PNC Arena. Bacot in particular is going to have yet another tough assignment to deal with in DJ Burns, who is a very quick, strong big man in the paint. Hopefully Bacot has a little more left in the tank to end this three-game road trip with a perfect 3-0 record.