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Armando Bacot returns, powers UNC over Louisville

Jan 14, 2023; Louisville, Kentucky, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) dribbles the ball against Louisville Cardinals forward Roosevelt Wheeler (4) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Armando Bacot was back in good form after an injury earlier in the week by scoring 14 points and pulling in 16 rebounds in North Carolina’s 80-59 road victory against Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

Freshman reserve D’Marco Dunn posted a career-high 14 points and Puff Johnson and RJ Davis both scored 12 points as North Carolina (12-6, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) got on track after a road loss to Virginia. The Tar Heels won for the first time in five true road games this season.

Bacot played less than 1 ½ minutes of that game Tuesday night before exiting with an ankle injury. He was back in the starting lineup Saturday.

North Carolina guard Caleb Love’s school record of 45 consecutive games with at least one 3-point basket ended. He scored 10 points, but he was 3 for 14 from the field and 0 for 7 on 3s. Love provided a game-high five assists.

El Ellis scored 22 points for Louisville, aided by 9 for 9 on free throws. The Cardinals (2-16, 0-7) lost their seventh in a row, remaining the only ACC team without a league victory.

North Carolina held a comfortable lead at 53-35 after opening the second half on a 16-9 run. Johnson drilled two 3-point shots during that stretch.

Els scored 11 points as Louisville built an early 15-7 lead. By halftime, the Tar Heels held a 37-26 lead behind Bacot’s 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The shooting was rough in the opening half, with North Carolina just 2 for 11 on 3s and Louisville at 1 for 9 on 3s.

North Carolina, which won for the seventh time in its last nine games, finished with a 40-31 rebounding advantage.

Aside from Ellis, the Cardinals had trouble with free throws. As a team, they were 18 for 28. North Carolina was called for 25 fouls.

North Carolina is 10-4 vs. the Cardinals since Louisville joined the ACC.

–Field Level Media

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