RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Armando Bacot scored 28 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for his 22nd double-double this season to lead North Carolina to an 84-74 victory over North Carolina State on Saturday.
Bacot was 11-of-13 shooting and blocked five shots for the Tar Heels (21-8, 13-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who didn’t leave any doubt against the last-place Wolfpack in a game UNC couldn’t afford to have mar their NCAA Tournament at-large resume.
Brady Manek, Caleb Love and Puff Johnson scored 16 points each. It was a career best for Johnson, who played a season-high 29 minutes after Leaky Black left with a knee injury in the first half.
Terquavion Smith scored 20 points, Cam Hayes came off the bench to add 16 and Jericole Hellems added 11 for NC State (11-18, 4-14), which has lost eight of its last nine. Leading scorer and rebounder Dereon Seabron had 11 points and two rebounds. NC State shot 38%.
UNC has won the last three against NC State, including a 100-80 win on Jan. 29. In that game, the Tar Heels made 15 3-pointers on 27 attempts. This time, they made just 5 of 19 but dominated the boards 46-25 and points in the paint 44-28 while making 21 of 23 from the line.
Bacot scored the first six points in a game-opening 20-3 run. While the Tar Heels were hitting eight of their first 10 shots, NC State opened 1 of 8. The Wolfpack worked their way back to a nine-point deficit with 3:35 left but Manek hit a 3-pointer to begin an 8-0 run and the Tar Heels' lead was still 17 at the break, 46-29. Manek had 14 points and Bacot 11 with 10 rebounds with UNC shooting 50%
NC State scored the first six points of the second half then Bacot scored nine points in an 11-0 run, the lead was 22 and it would stay in double figures with final margin the closest the Wolfpack got in the second half.
Black left late in the first half with what was reported to be a hyperextended knee and was kept on the bench.
North Carolina is host to Syracuse on Monday and at No. 7 Duke next Saturday to wrap up the regular season. NC State is at Wake Forest on Wednesday and ends the regular season at Florida State on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25