Armando Bacot leads No. 3 North Carolina past No. 7 Duke

Feb 3, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils forward Mark Mitchell (25) and North Carolina Tar Heels guard RJ Davis (4) fight for the ball in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Armando Bacot had one of his bigger games of the season with 25 points, and it came at an ideal time for No. 3 North Carolina as the host Tar Heels picked apart No. 7 Duke for a 93-84 victory Saturday night at Chapel Hill, N.C.

Harrison Ingram poured in 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in his first game vs. Duke, Atlantic Coast Conference scoring leader RJ Davis finished with 17 points and Seth Tremble had 10 points off the bench for the Tar Heels, who had a 10-game winning streak snapped earlier in the week in a one-point loss at Georgia Tech.

North Carolina (18-4, 10-1 ACC) stretched its conference lead by defeating the second-place team.

The Tar Heels prevented any shot at a comeback from the Blue Devils (16-5, 7-3), who couldn’t string together stops on defense.

Duke’s Jared McCain pumped in 23 points in his first game against North Carolina and Kyle Filipowski had a solid second half to end up with 22 points. Jeremy Roach had 20 points and Mark Mitchell added 11 points.

Davis sank a 3-pointer for an 85-72 edge, and even five consecutive points from Duke didn’t pose much of a threat as Davis canned a pair of free throws at the 1:25 mark to restore a double-digit advantage.

The teams were both in the Top 10 when meeting for the first time in almost five years. It was the 49th all-time meeting with both in the Top 10.

Bacot, a fifth-year player, shot 10-for-13 from the field on the way to matching his highest point total of the season, which had been posted in the season opener against Radford.

During a stretch early in the second half, Duke scored on six of seven possessions, but reduced its deficit by only one point – largely because Ingram hit two 3s.

North Carolina was up 69-57 by the midway mark of the second half and Davis had only seven points.

The Tar Heels shot 51.4 percent from the field to lead 45-35 at halftime, marking their highest first-half point total against Duke in nearly six years. The Blue Devils didn’t attempt a first-half free throw, while North Carolina held a 10-0 edge in points off turnovers.

North Carolina snapped a two-game skid in the series for its first victory against Duke since the 2022 Final Four semifinals.

– Field Level Media

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