CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Armando Bacot had all but one of his 28 points after halftime to help No. 1 North Carolina push past the College of Charleston 102-86 on Friday night.
The 6-foot-11 preseason Associated Press All-American got just one shot attempt in an opening half that set the tone for an offensively driven game with neither team able to string together defensive stops.
The Tar Heels (2-0) had to outscore the Cougars (1-1) after trailing at halftime — and needed to establish Bacot in the paint as a physical and rugged presence to get that going.
Bacot went 10 for 12 from the field after the break to go with six rebounds, while Caleb Love added 25 points. With Bacot rolling, the Tar Heels made 20 of 28 shots (71.4%) after halftime and finished the game shooting 60%.
Dalton Bolon scored 14 of his 16 points before halftime for the College of Charleston, which led by eight points in the first half and 50-43 at halftime. The Cougars shot nearly 53% in the first 20 minutes and hovered well beyond 50% for the game until fading in the final minutes as the Tar Heels finally asserted control.
Charleston: The Cougars are in their second year led by Pat Kelsey and picked to finish fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association race. They scored 85 points with nine 3-pointers in their opener to beat Chattanooga and showed plenty of offensive punch again with the ability to beat the Tar Heels off the dribble, including having their guards muscle UNC’s backcourt of Love and RJ Davis in the paint. Ultimately, though, they lost their 12th straight game against ranked opponents.
UNC: The Tar Heels labored through their opener against UNC Wilmington with a performance that Bacot called “rusty” and coach Hubert Davis hoped was just “first-game anxiousness and nervousness.” This one looked better from an offensive standpoint, though the defensive troubles stood out. The Tar Heels didn’t go ahead for good in this one until midway through the second half.
College of Charleston: The Cougars host Richmond on Monday night.
UNC: The Tar Heels host Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night.