Tar Heels make statement in win over Pitt

The North Carolina Tar Heels began a tough three-game road trip in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh against a Panthers team that has won three straight games against them.

Not only have the Panthers won three straight but they did so by bullying the Tar Heels as the more physical team. While the game was physical again on Tuesday, it was UNC’s turn to make a statement and they did just that.

After falling behind 6-0 and not making a basket in the first 6:20 of the game, North Carolina started to find its groove in the first half. They got on the board and took their first lead at 15-14 with an 8-0 run. After a little bit of a back-and-forth for the rest of the half, the Tar Heels got a big bucket from RJ Davis who drained a three pointer at the buzzer to give UNC a 31-28 lead at halftime.

And in the second half, UNC flexed their muscles.

The Tar Heels controlled most of the game in the second half, building a lead and never really letting it get down to more than four. With Pitt playing physically, the Tar Heels answered back using lineups that featured big men Jae’Lyn Withers, Armando Bacot and Jalen Washington to combat that.

UNC started to really pull away with around 7 minutes left after Pitt got it down to six at 53-47. From there, UNC outscored them 17-10 to get the victory.

Bacot led the Tar Heels with 16 points and 10 rebounds, posting another double-double while Davis had 15 and Cormac Ryan had 10. Seth Trimble added 10 off the bench for his second-straight game scoring in double figures.

Player of the Game

We are going to give this one to Bacot. While the shots weren’t falling early, he was helping keep UNC in the game with rebounding and defense. He did find his shot late, going 5-of-10 from the field to finish with 16 points.

What’s next?

The test doesn’t get much easier. North Carolina stays on the road and travels to Clemson for a ranked matchup with the Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire