CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Armando Bacot had 23 points and 18 rebounds on a record-setting day, RJ Davis scored 26 points, and North Carolina defeated North Carolina State 80-69 on Saturday.
Bacot established the North Carolina record with his 61st career double-double, breaking a tie with Billy Cunningham. He also passed Tyler Hansbrough for first place on UNC’s career rebounding list, 1,221-1,219.
NC State’s Terquavion Smith, the leading scorer in the ACC, suffered a scary injury and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher with 9:45 remaining in the second half. Smith attacked the rim and tried to finish a left-handed runner but fell backwards and landed hard on the floor. North Carolina’s Leaky Black was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game.
NC State said Smith had an elbow and neck injury, and coach Kevin Keatts said Smith was taken to a hospital.
No information about Smith’s condition was released, but the player took to Twitter late Saturday and posted: “I am fine appreciate all the prayers and concern,” followed by a heart emoji.
“Our thoughts and prayers right now are with Terquavion,” Keatts said after the game. “It’s a very emotional situation for me right now. ... My prayers and my thoughts always go to my players in these types of moments.”
There were four lead changes early in the second half before North Carolina built a 10-point lead on the strength of a 14-5 run. With Bacot scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the second half, the Tar Heels maintained a lead of at least seven points through the final nine minutes after Smith’s injury.
Keatts said he believes his players handled the situation after Smith’s injury well.
“Our guys are really close, a close-knit bunch,” Keatts said. “I thought we handled it as best we could.”
North Carolina’s last field goal came on a Caleb Love jumper for a 74-65 lead with 1:47 remaining. Love, with four free throws, and Davis, with two, closed it out at the line.
Love finished with 16 points and made 9 of 10 free throws. Davis was 14-for-14 from the line and Bacot made all seven of his tries. The Tar Heels made only 20 field goals but were 36-for-39 from the line. A free throw by Jalen Washington was North Carolina’s only bench point.
D.J. Burns and Jarkel Joiner scored 18 points each for NC State and Smith and Casey Morsell scored 12 each. The Wolfpack were outrebounded 42-27, grabbing only nine more boards than Bacot.
In the first half, a 3-pointer by Smith started a 13-0 run and a 3-pointer by Morsell capped it off, giving North Carolina State an 18-10 lead with 10:02 remaining.
Davis drained two 3-pointers and went 4-for-4 from the line in a 12-2 run that gave the Tar Heels a 24-20 lead. Davis had 16 points, with two 3-pointers and was 8-for-8 from the line in the first half and North Carolina led 34-33 at the break.
The Tar Heels (14-6, 6-3), who have won three in a row and nine of the past 11, improved to 10-0 at home this season, including 5-0 in ACC play.
The loss snapped North Carolina State’s four-game winning streak.
(WATCH BELOW: ‘Really neat’: Local high school football stars to face off in ACC Championship)
©2023 Cox Media Group