Virginia Tech knock off slumping No. 18 North Carolina 80-72

Dec 4, 2022, 12:22 AM | Updated: 6:08 pm

Virginia Tech's Justyn Mutts (25) catches a pass and scores past the defense of North Carolina's Pete Nance (32) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Blacksburg, Va., Sunday, Dec. 4 2022. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

(25)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Justyn Mutts scored 27 points to lead Virginia Tech to an 80-72 victory over No. 18 North Carolina on Sunday.

Mutts scored 21 of his points in the second half for the Hokies (8-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who built an 18-point, second-half lead and then held on to hand the slumping Tar Heels (5-4, 0-1) their fourth consecutive defeat.

North Carolina cut that lead to 67-64 on a layup by Caleb Love with 3:06 remaining, but Mutts answered with a basket 17 seconds later, and the Tar Heels got no closer.

“When it did get to three, we sat down and did the things that we’re supposed to do,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “(There was) a level of toughness and a level of resolve when the heat’s on a little bit, and they withstood it. They did a nice job with it.

“We needed today. We needed the Tar Heels, someone of that ilk to play. That heightened sense of awareness and embracing the grit and the grind that goes along with winning games of this nature. It was a good day for the Hokies.”

The Associated Press’ preseason No. 1 team, North Carolina played without center Armando Bacot, who missed the game with a bruised shoulder. The ACC’s preseason player of the year had started 107 of 108 games in his career and was averaging 16.1 points and a team-best 11.1 rebounds.

Virginia Tech, and in particular, Mutts, took advantage of Bacot’s absence. Mutts connected on 12 of 16 from the floor, and he also grabbed 11 rebounds. Behind Mutts, the Hokies shot 50.8% (31of 61) from the floor.

“It’s just my teammates and my coaches putting so much trust in me, just so much faith in me,” Mutts said. “A lot of it is the play calls that are going on, and then within different flows of the game … just with the way our offense runs, there are certain openings that I was able to take that really benefitted me.”

Caleb Love, Pete Nance, and RJ Davis each scored 18 for North Carolina.

“I told the guys that I’m disappointed, but I’m not discouraged,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said. “Disappointed with the outcome, but I was really happy with the fight the last 15 minutes of the second half. … I told them also that I’m not panicked. I’m not any of that. This is a good basketball team, and I’m convinced that we’re going to be a great basketball team by the end of the season.”

TAKEAWAYS

North Carolina: The Tar Heels have shown a lack of toughness inside of late. Indiana and Alabama scored 50 and 40 points in the paint, respectively, and then North Carolina allowed 42 points in the paint to the Hokies.

Virginia Tech: The defending ACC champions played their best game of the season and appear to be meshing as a team. They now have won three straight following a loss to the College of Charleston on Nov. 20.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Though all four losses in during this skid have been either at neutral sites or on the road, North Carolina probably will drop out of the top 25 when the updated poll is released Monday.

UP NEXT

North Carolina: The Tar Heels play at home Saturday against Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at home against Dayton on Wednesday.

___

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.

AP

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks during an NFL football Super Bowl media avail...
Associated Press

Super Bowl has rare matchup of top 2 regular-season teams

This year’s Super Bowl features a rare matchup of the NFL’s top two teams from the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs were the league’s only 14-game winners, marking just the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the squads with sole possession of the two best records in the regular season […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic rings are reinstalled after it was taken down ...
Associated Press

Tokyo Olympic official, 3 others held in bid-rigging probe

TOKYO (AP) — A senior official with the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and three company executives were arrested Wednesday in an ongoing bid-rigging scandal related to the Games. Yasuo Mori, the Olympic official, was arrested along with Koji Henmi, who headed the sports division at Japanese advertising giant Dentsu. Two other business executives were also […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James appears to tear up after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to bec...
Associated Press

LeBron sets NBA career scoring mark in Lakers’ loss to OKC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James became the NBA’s career scoring leader on a step-back jumper late in the third quarter, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record during his 38-point performance in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. James surpassed the mark held since April 1984 by Abdul-Jabbar, who […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tosses powder in the air prior to the team's NBA basketball...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: LeBron James’ run to the NBA scoring record

Associated Press photographers have captured LeBron James for the entirety of his 20-year career, starting from when he was an 18-year-old rookie to now as a 38-year-old who just became the most prolific scorer in NBA history. That covers both his stints in Cleveland, his two championships in Miami, the third title when he returned […]
1 day ago
DELETES REFERENCE TO SHOT SETTING THE SCORING RECORD - Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, lef...
Associated Press

Reaction to LeBron becoming the NBA’s career scoring leader

Reaction from social media and elsewhere poured in after LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. ___ “Congratulations to LeBron on breaking one of the most hallowed records in all of sports by becoming the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. It’s a towering achievement that speaks to his sustained excellence over […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, poses with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after passing Abdul-J...
Associated Press

Scoring King: James passes Abdul-Jabbar for NBA points mark

LeBron James got the first official statistic of his NBA career on a rebound. His next entry on the stat sheet was an assist. Even then, points weren’t the priority. They never were. Somehow, he became the most prolific scorer in NBA history anyway. It finally happened Tuesday night, the kid from Akron, Ohio, connecting […]
1 day ago
Virginia Tech knock off slumping No. 18 North Carolina 80-72