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No. 4 North Carolina blasts Florida State in ACC quarterfinals

Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; Florida State forward Baba Miller (11) drives to the basket as North Carolina forward Harrison Ingram (55) defends in the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

RJ Davis scored 18 points and Armando Bacot added 14 points and 10 rebounds as No. 4 North Carolina cruised past Florida State for a 92-67 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at Washington, D.C.

Cormac Ryan added 14 points and reserve Seth Trimble had 12 points, including a highlight-type dunk for the Tar Heels, the top-seeded team in the tournament who shot 52.3 percent from the field. Harrison Ingram provided nine points and 10 rebounds.

North Carolina (26-6) will play in Friday night’s first semifinal against either Wake Forest or Pitt.

Primo Spears came off the bench to lead ninth-seeded Florida State (17-16) with 17 points. Jamir Watkins posted 12 points and Jalen Warley had 10 points, but the Seminoles couldn’t repeat the success from a day earlier when they topped Virginia Tech in the second round.

The Tar Heels pulled away with a 20-4 run late in the first half for a 46-27 lead and they were up 46-30 at the break.

By then, Ryan had started to heat up in the team’s first game since his season-high 31 points Saturday at Duke in a game that determined the ACC regular-season championship. Ryan finished with three 3-point baskets on four attempts.

Davis, who earlier in the week was named the ACC Player of the Year, shot 7-for-15 from the field, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range.

The Seminoles shot just 4-for-16 (25.0 percent) on 3-pointers, yet were within 52-39 three minutes into the second half.

But unlike the first two meetings of the season, when the Seminoles led in the second half before falling to the Tar Heels, they couldn’t keep this one close. North Carolina led by 20 or more points for most of the second half, including the final 13:43 of the game.

Bacot notched his 15th double-double of the season, pushing his school-record total in that category to 83 games.

North Carolina kept up its trend of racking up big rebounding margins, holding a 49-24 advantage on the boards to help compensate for 13 turnovers.

–Field Level Media

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