Davis, Bacot carry No. 1 North Carolina past James Madison

Nov 19, 2022, 9:25 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2022, 12:33 pm

North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis cheers on his team during the second half of an NCAA college...

North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis cheers on his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against James Madison Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Not being perfect was fine with No. 1 North Carolina.

What matters to the Tar Heels is getting better.

RJ Davis scored 21 points, Armando Bacot had 19 points and a career-best 23 rebounds and No. 1 North Carolina defeated James Madison 80-64 on Sunday.

“We’re not going to be perfect all the time,” Bacot said. “One thing we’re not going to do is quit.”

Pete Nance added 11 points and Leaky Black had 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels (4-0), who got off a slow second half while concluding a four-game homestand.

Takal Molson scored 19 points in James Madison’s first game against a top-ranked team in nearly 32 years. Mezie Offurum had 12 points, Julien Wooden added 11 and Vado Morse finished with 10 for the Dukes (4-1).

North Carolina built a 21-point first-half lead to take control early before holding a 45-26 advantage at halftime.

“It’s not about one person, it’s about all of us,” Davis said.

The Dukes, who averaged 105.1 points in four romps, didn’t reach the 50-point mark until less than 7 1/2 minutes remained in the game.

“When you’re in a situation like this, you want to play better,” James Madison coach Mark Byington said. “We were not ourselves. Our whole team was out of rhythm.”

North Carolina’s lead was cut to 49-40 shortly after the Dukes put together a 12-2 run to begin the second half. At 57-49, Molson missed a jumper that could have made it tighter before the Tar Heels notched the next six points.

“We understand we had a good first half,” Davis said. “We still have to come out the second half.”

James Madison had little flow early in the game, missing its first eight 2-point shots. Before a launch from inside the arc fell, the Dukes trailed 30-15 and more than 12 minutes had passed. They shot 29.4% overall in the first half.

“The first three minutes, I don’t think we attacked,” Byington said.

Bacot, a senior, had a first-half double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“When I’m doing those types of things and get on the offensive glass, it helps me and the team,” he said.

Coach Hubert Davis said the Tar Heels had three spirited practices leading to this game. He saw progress Sunday.

“I just felt like we could do it better consistently,” he said. “I told the (assistant) coaches that I think we took a step forward.”


Since the last game, Davis asked his players to write out team goals. Before Saturday’s practice, they turned in a typed-up version signed by the players.

“It moved me,” the second-year coach said. “They took time to do this. … What blew me away, everybody signed it.”

He didn’t divulge the details of the list. But he has had it laminated and plans to put up a poster-sized copy in the locker room.

“This is their team,” Davis said. “I’m just in a position to manage it.”


James Madison: The Dukes didn’t handle the first half well in their first game against a Power Five conference team. They won their previous games by margins of at least 35 points. They relied heavily on perimeter offense, perhaps in part because some good looks from closer range didn’t fall in the opening half.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels appeared much more engaged in this game, and they certainly were more efficient. They attacked in the paint right away and that set a tone.


Puff Johnson, a junior swingman who was North Carolina’s first substitution less than four minutes into the game, made his season debut after sitting out with a sore knee. … This was the first meeting between the teams since the 1989 Maui Invitational, when North Carolina won 80-79 with the help of current Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis, who then was a sophomore. … North Carolina improved to 4-0 all-time in the series, with the other two meetings in NCAA Tournament play.


James Madison: Friday vs. Coastal Georgia at Savannah, Georgia.

North Carolina: Thursday vs. Portland in the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon.


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

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Davis, Bacot carry No. 1 North Carolina past James Madison