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No. 10 North Carolina gets rare win on Virginia’s court

Feb 24, 2024, in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Seth Trimble (7) dribbles against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Hannah Pajewski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Hannah Pajewski-USA TODAY Sports

Cormac Ryan scored 18 points, all coming on 6-of-11 3-point shooting, as No. 10 North Carolina churned out a 54-44 win over Virginia on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

The Tar Heels (21-6, 13-3 ACC) won in Charlottesville for the first time since 2012 despite posting their season low in points and shooting 16-of-50 (32 percent) from the field. Armando Bacot overcame early foul trouble to post 10 points and 13 rebounds and two blocks.

RJ Davis, who entered Saturday leading the ACC with 21.3 points per game, slogged to a 12-point outing on 1-of-14 shooting for North Carolina.

Jordan Minor’s 12 points and 10 rebounds led the Cavaliers (20-8, 11-6), who made 16-of-58 field goals (27.6 percent). Reece Beekman chipped in 10 points as the only other double-digit scorer for Virginia, which has lost three of four since winning eight straight games.

The Tar Heels played the final 12:39 of the first half without Bacot but still led 26-16 at halftime behind a rock-solid defense that smothered the Cavaliers into 5-of-30 shooting (16.7 percent) from the field.

Virginia trailed 9-4 when it seemingly caught a break after Bacot’s second foul sent him to the bench just 7:21 into the game. But the Cavaliers never took advantage, missing 14 of their next 15 field goals as North Carolina used the deep ball to build a double-digit lead.

Ryan kept the Tar Heels ticking by hitting 5-of-8 triples, his final boosting North Carolina ahead 24-14 with two minutes left in the half.

Beekman led Virginia in the first period with eight points.

The Cavaliers needed only the first 5:09 of the second half to match their field goal output in the opening period. Minor’s layup gave Virginia its fifth make after halftime and cut North Carolina’s lead to 33-27 before the Cavaliers sputtered again.

Davis shed his 0-for-7 start with a 3-pointer to kickstart a 7-0 run that Bacot punctuated with a dunk, growing the Tar Heels’ lead to 40-27 with 12:21 to play. Dante Harris’ jumper ended Virginia’s 3:33 dry spell before Bacot replenished North Carolina’s 13-point cushion with another jam at the 10:30 mark.

The Tar Heels went the next seven minutes without a bucket as their lead shriveled to 49-44 with 1:04 to play, but Harrison Ingram and Davis combined for five free throws down the stretch to seal the win for North Carolina.

–Field Level Media

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