Tar Heels can’t slow down DJ Burns or DJ Horne, fall in ACC Championship

Before the ACC Championship game even started, I said that UNC players besides RJ Davis and Armando Bacot needed to step up in the scoring department.

North Carolina barely scraped by Pitt last night, needing huge efforts from its two stars late. Harrison Ingram, Cormac Ryan and Elliot Cadeau went a combined 5-for 24 from the field.

Davis and Bacot showed out again in Saturday’s championship, but NC State’s stars shined brighter. The Wolfpack won, 84-76, to win its first ACC Tournament since 1987 and head back to the Big Dance for the second consecutive season.

Arizona State transfer DJ Horne, who grew up in Raleigh (NC), led all scorers with 29 points. NC State big man DJ Burns bullied Bacot down lown, winning the battle by scoring 20 points and grabbing four rebounds.

Saturday hero Michael O’Connell scored 10 points, but it was Mohamed Diarra who truly dominated with a 11-point, 14-rebound outing for the Wolfpack.

If not for Davis, the Tar Heels (27-7, 17-3) would’ve lost by a lot more. Davis poured in 30 points, his fourth time reaching the marker this year, by making 10 shots from the field and six free throws.

Bacot also snagged yet another double-double, his 85th career game with on, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Bacot broke a tie with former UVA great Ralph Sampson, now sitting second in the ACC all-time in double-doubles.

Ingram reached 10 points for North Carolina, but he, Ryan and Cadeau combined for an ice-cold, 7-of-26 outing.

UNC never really seemed to get into a rhythm on Saturday, as it saw a significantly hungrier NC State team outplay them in every aspect. The Wolfpack needed to win tonight for a Big Dance berth, while the Tar Heels were just hoping to gain another quality win before a National Championship run.

Both North Carolina and its in-state rivals will discover their NCAA Tournament fate at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 17 for Selection Sunday.

Player of the Game

RJ Davis, who scored 30 points for the fourth time this season.

For the second consecutive night, Davis’ shooting was the major reason UNC was remotely close.

Bacot could also be Player of the Game, as he recorded another double-double, but I felt Davis made more of an impact.

What’s Next?

As part of Selection Sunday, the Tar Heels will find out their first round NCAA Tournament opponent on Sunday, March 17 at 6 p.m. North Carolina will either play on Thursday, March 21 or Friday, March 22.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire