Bacot, Love help No. 1 UNC top College of Charleston

Nov 11, 2022, 4:26 AM | Updated: 7:48 pm
NNorth Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) passes the ball out after gaining control during a scramble...

NNorth Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) passes the ball out after gaining control during a scramble with College of Charleston guard Dalton Bolon (3), top, and guard Jaylon Scott (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

              NNorth Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) passes the ball out after gaining control during a scramble with College of Charleston guard Dalton Bolon (3), top, and guard Jaylon Scott (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis cheers on his team against College of Charleston during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              College of Charleston head coach Pat Kelsey, front right, pleads with an official as College of Charleston guard Ryan Larson (11) tangles with North Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina forward Armando Bacot (5), guard Seth Trimble, second from left, forward Pete Nance (32) and guard Caleb Love (2) battle College of Charleston forward Babacar Faye (35) for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              College of Charleston forward Raekwon Horton, left, drives against North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) pulls in a rebound against College of Charleston forward Babacar Faye (35) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina forward Armando Bacot (5) and fans celebrate after he slam-dunked over College of Charleston guard Ryan Larson (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              College of Charleston head coach Pat Kelsey yells to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina guard Caleb Love (2) celebrates after he scored against College of Charleston guard Ryan Larson (11), guard Reyne Smith (2) and forward Babacar Faye (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              College of Charleston forward Raekwon Horton (5) dunks over North Carolina guard D'Marco Dunn (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina guard Caleb Love (2) and College of Charleston guard Ryan Larson (11) battle for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Armando Bacot started setting his feet, sealing off defenders and demanding the ball inside. His teammates complied. And that’s what finally got top-ranked North Carolina rolling offensively against the College of Charleston.

It also helped that coach Hubert Davis got the response he wanted after a “soft” first half, too.

Bacot had all but one of his 28 points after halftime to help UNC push past Charleston 102-86 on Friday night. The 6-foot-11 preseason Associated Press All-American got just one shot attempt in an opening half that set the tone for an offensively driven game with neither team consistently stringing together stops.

The Tar Heels (2-0) seemingly had to outscore the Cougars (1-1) after trailing at halftime as well as respond to physical play. Getting Bacot established helped both.

“He caught the ball where he wanted to,” Davis said. “He outworked whoever defended him to catch the ball as close as he could to the basket. His moves were definitive and strong, and he either scored or got fouled. I was very proud of him.”

Bacot went 10 for 12 from the field after the break.

“I still think my approach has got to be better. I didn’t think I played a good game today. I don’t know, I guess it’s something I’ve got to think on and just look at film and see what I need to work on and just get better at it,” he said.

Caleb Love added 25 points for the Tar Heels, who made 20 of 28 shots (71.4%) after halftime and finished the game shooting 60%.

Dalton Bolon scored 14 of his 16 points before halftime for Charleston, which led by eight points in the first half and 50-43 at halftime.

The Cougars shot nearly 53% in the first 20 minutes and hovered well beyond 50% until fading in the final minutes as the Tar Heels finally asserted control. Coach Pat Kelsey said his team knew “the storm was coming” but kept battling.

“Our guys withstood a couple of those runs, so that resilience was something exciting and something really good to see,” he said. “Obviously that last tsunami at the end, it was sort of game over from there.”

BIG PICTURE

Charleston: Picked to finish fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association, the Cougars scored 85 points with nine 3-pointers in their opener to beat Chattanooga and showed plenty of offensive punch again. They repeatedly beat the Tar Heels off the dribble, including having their guards muscle UNC’s backcourt of Love and RJ Davis in the paint. Ultimately, though, they lost their 12th straight game against ranked opponents.

UNC: The Tar Heels labored through their opener against UNC Wilmington with a performance that Bacot called “rusty” and Davis hoped was just “first-game anxiousness and nervousness.” This one looked better from an offensive standpoint while Davis thought the team responded better defensively after halftime. Still, the Tar Heels didn’t go ahead for good until midway through the second half.

“One of the things we talked a lot about at halftime, I told them there’s nowhere to go,” Davis said. “There’s no exit route. there’s no stairs, there’s no door. You’re going to have to stay in there and you’re going to have to compete.”

TIP-INS

Charleston entered 6-27 against ranked teams, with the last win coming at Baylor in November 2012. … UNC has been outrebounded in each of its first two games. … The Tar Heels made 27 of 38 free throws compared to 6 of 9 for the Cougars. … Charleston made 2 of 10 3-pointers after halftime. … Love had nine rebounds and six assists for UNC, while Leaky Black had 15 points. … Ante Brzovic had 12 of his 15 points before halftime for the Cougars.

UP NEXT

Charleston: The Cougars host Richmond on Monday night.

UNC: The Tar Heels host Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Bacot, Love help No. 1 UNC top College of Charleston