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Tar Heels Run Wild on Fighting Irish, 101-59

UNC’s 42-point margin of victory Wednesday night was the second-highest in the history of the ACC Tournament,
Credit: WFMY News 2 Sports

GREENSBORO, N.C. –  Armando Bacot scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to record his sixth double-double of the season and lead North Carolina to the quarterfinals of the New York Life ACC Tournament, defeating No. 11 seed Notre Dame 101-59 on Thursday. 

 Carolina (17-9) advances to face No. 3 seed Virginia Tech (15-5) in the late game Friday evening. The Tar Heels and Hokies have not faced each other yet this season, as their February 16 matchup was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

North Carolina ended the first half on a 47-31 run and led 50-36 at the break. Notre Dame (11-15) never got closer than 12 points in the second half, as the Tar Heels ended the game on a 42-12 run over the final 15:27.

North Carolina shot 50.6% from the field on 39-of-77 shooting while Notre Dame was 19-for-61 (31.1%) on field goals. The Tar Heels outrebounded the Fighting Irish 54-31, including a 25-15 edge on the offensive glass.

Five Tar Heel players scored in double figures, led by Bacot’s game-high 20 points. Walker Kessler was a force inside for North Carolina, posting his first career double-double and setting career bests in blocks (8) and rebounds (12) while scoring 16 points. Caleb Love scored 15 points, Day’Ron Sharpe added 14 points and 10 rebounds while RJ Davis had a 14-point effort.

Notre Dame was led in scoring by Nate Laszewski and Prentiss Hubb, with each scoring 13 points.

Postgame Notes

#6 North Carolina 101, #11 Notre Dame 59

Second Round - 2021 New York Life ACC Tournament

Greensboro, N.C.

- North Carolina (17-9) advances to Thursday’s 9 p.m. quarterfinal game versus No. 3 seed Virginia Tech (15-5). The game will be televised by ESPN. The teams did not meet during the regular season after their scheduled game in mid-February was called off due to COVID-19 protocols. The teams last met in the first round of last year’s ACC Tournament, with UNC posting a 78-56 win.

- UNC’s 42-point margin of victory Wednesday night was the second-highest in the history of the ACC Tournament, just behind Virginia’s 43-point win over Duke (109-66) in the 1983 quarterfinals in Atlanta. Wednesday night’s result was the largest margin of victory in a second-round game, topping Pitt’s 29-point win over Wake Forest (84-55) in 2014 in Greensboro.

- The Tar Heels own a 46-13 record in 59 previous ACC Tournament quarterfinal appearances. Wednesday night’s win pushed UNC’s ACC tourney record to 103-48.

- UNC is 126-38 all-time in games played in the city of Greensboro.

- UNC's 101 points marks the first 100-point regulation game at the ACC Tournament since Duke recorded 104 against Virginia in the 1999 tournament.

- UNC is now 2-1 versus Notre Dame in ACC Tournament play. The Irish defeated the Tar Heels 90-82 in the 2015 championship game at Greensboro Coliseum. UNC won 78-47 in the semifinal game in 2016 in Washington, D.C.

- Tuesday night’s loss dropped Notre Dame to 11-6 all-time in the ACC Tournament and snapped the Fighting Irish’s five-game tournament win streak at Greensboro Coliseum.

- Three players finished with double-doubles for UNC, led by sophomore Armando Bacot’s 20 points and 13 rebounds. Freshmen Walker Kessler (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Day’Ron Sharpe (14 points, 10 rebounds) followed suit. The trio shot a combined 20-of-31 from the floor.

- Kessler added a career-high eight blocked shots, setting an ACC Tournament record for a freshman (previous record was six, set by Tim Duncan in 1994 and Mike Gminski in 1977).

- UNC outrebounded Notre Dame 54-31. The Tar Heels led 56-20 on points in the paint and 27-13 on second-chance points.

- The Tar Heels recorded 25 offensive rebounds, which is tied for fourth most in a game in ACC Tournament history and the most ever by a UNC team in the tournament.