Having a game plan of containing RJ Davis is pretty smart when you’re playing UNC, but Duke likely did not predict that Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram would combine for 46 points on their way to a 93-84 win for the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. Both players recorded double-doubles and were instrumental in Carolina holding a lead for all but 16 seconds of the game.
Bacot was wildly efficient from the floor, making 10 of his 13 attempts. He pulled down 10 rebounds and made five of seven from the free throw line. Ingram hit big shot after big shot, including five three-pointers, and had 13 boards. RJ Davis, who was held to just four points in the first half, had 13 in the second half including a dagger three-pointer and some very clutch free throws as Duke tried to extend the game.
The Tar Heels held a 10-point advantage at halftime — the largest Duke has faced this year. UNC turned the ball over just once in the first 20 minutes while scoring 10 points off Duke’s six giveaways. Carolina also did not send Duke to the free throw line once in the first half, and ultimately held a 25-11 advantage from the charity stripe for the game. The Heels finished with 19 points off Duke’s 11 turnovers while only turning it over five times themselves.
In addition to the 46 by Bacot and Ingram, and Davis’ 17, Seth Trimble finished with 10 points off the bench to round out the Heels in double figures. Cormac Ryan had some huge plays and finished the game with nine points. Elliot Cadeau played a very aggressive but controlled first half, finished the game with seven points, and had just one turnover.
Carolina did let Duke shoot 54% in the second half, which got them to within single digits down the stretch, but the Heels made their shots when they needed them and kept the Blue Devils at arm’s length. That was all with three Duke players finishing with 20+ points. Four Blue Devils had at least three fouls, sending UNC to the free throw line to put the game away.
So much credit goes to the Tar Heels for finding a way to get offense even with Davis limited to 5-14 from the field. The team has gone as RJ has gone so many times because he has been such a force offensively, but everyone else was there to pick up his slack tonight. Davis and Ingram both played 38 minutes tonight, which obviously isn’t ideal, especially when the pace is the way that it was, but it’s the benefit of previously buying them minutes in other games. Truly, each player on the floor made a play that positively contributed to the win.
The win brings UNC to 10-1 in the ACC with a two game lead over second place Virginia. It also snaps a two-game losing streak against Duke in the Smith Center.
Carolina is back in action Tuesday when they take on Clemson in Chapel Hill.