CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Armando Bacot had 21 points and No. 20 North Carolina blew the game open with 19 straight points out of halftime to beat UC Riverside 77-52 on Friday night.
Harrison Ingram added 10 points and nine boards for the Tar Heels (3-0), who led by 21 midway through the first half before the Highlanders clawed back to within 37-26 at the break. But as UNC got its offense moving again and kept stretching out its lead, UC Riverside (1-3) went cold.
RJ Davis had a three-point play off a double-pump jumper on an inbounds pass, then added a 3-pointer during the flurry. Jalen Washington followed with his own from the corner and Jae’Lyn Withers closed the spurt with two free throws to push the margin to 56-26 with 11:04 left.
The Highlanders missed their first 13 shots and committed five turnovers before Barrington Hargress found Vladimer Salaridze for a layup at the 10:33 mark to end the drought.
Ben Griscti scored 14 points for UC Riverside.
UC Riverside: The Big West Conference program fell behind 30-9 before using a quality finish to the first half — ending with layups by Jhaylon Martinez and Hargress — with a 9-2 run to stay within range. But it was otherwise a rough offensive night, with UC Riverside shooting 30.6% and making 9 of 30 3-pointers.
UNC: The Tar Heels had 10 players score in what third-year coach Hubert Davis is hoping is a sign of reliable depth going forward for a team that lacked it last season. UNC’s biggest trouble was hitting from outside (6 of 21 on 3s).
This marked only the fourth time in recent memory that the Tar Heels wore blue uniforms on their home court after UC Riverside requested to wear white.
The first came against Connecticut in December 1990, followed by a New Year’s Eve game during the 2013-14 season and then the February 2020 rivalry game with Duke in which both teams wore retro-inspired jerseys featuring their shade of blue.
UC Riverside: The Highlanders return home to face Green Bay on Tuesday.
UNC: The Tar Heels face Northern Iowa on Wednesday in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.