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#7 North Carolina Runs Away From Notre Dame, 84-51

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By: Matt Bowers

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Seventh-ranked North Carolina built a big first-half lead and cruised to an 84-51 win over Notre Dame on Tuesday night in the Smith Center, clinching at least a tie for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title.

The Tar Heels led, 41-25, at halftime, started the second half with a 13-0 run to widen their lead and never looked back.

RJ Davis led all scorers with 22 points, hitting 9 of 15 field goal tries (including 4 of 6 three-pointers). He added five assists for his sixth game in the last nine with at least five. Harrison Ingram posted his 10th double-double of the year with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Armando Bacot tallied 14 points, hitting two three-pointers for the first time in his five-year career.

Playing against his former team, Cormac Ryan finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Jalen Washington posted the fourth double-figure scoring game of his sophomore season with 10.

With the victory, Carolina (24-6, 16-3 ACC) assured itself of a share of the ACC regular season title for the first time since 2019 and the 33rd time overall, most in conference history. The 16 league wins in 2023-24 equal the most in school history (with the 16-2 mark in 2018-19).

“We talked about it before the game, we talked about it after the game, and we talked about the opportunity to play Duke on Saturday and have a chance to win it outright,” said Tar Heel head coach Hubert Davis. “They were looking up in the rafters the last couple of weeks, and they were saying, ‘There’s some room right there next to that 2019 banner.’ This is really important to them.”

Notre Dame, which entered the game having won of its last six outings, fell to 12-18, 7-12 ACC.

Seven Tar Heel players went through senior night festivities prior to the game: Armando Bacot, Davis, Duwe FarrisRob LandryCreighton Lebo, Ryan and Paxson Wojcik. Farris, Landry and Lebo all made their first career starts.

Carolina led from start to finish and improved to 30-9 all-time against Notre Dame, including 14-5 since the Fighting Irish joined the ACC in 2013-14 and 9-1 in the Smith Center.

“We knew we wanted to come out and play our best game of the year,” Ryan said. “We want to do that every night, but especially being senior night for some of Carolina’s most legendary players, for seven of our guys, we wanted to go out on a high note. Which is always what you want to do on senior night. That gave us plenty of motivation to come out and handle business. I am really proud of the way we defended, shared the ball and executed offensively”

The UNC defense limited Notre Dame to 30.5 percent shooting from the field, including 25 percent (7 for 28) in the second half. The Irish’s 51 points were the second-lowest total by a Tar Heel opponent this season (behind Virginia’s 44 on Feb. 24).

“It’s crazy to think this being my last game here and how far I have come,” Bacot reflected. “I may not have been the best player to ever play here, I may not have scored the most points, I did grab the most rebounds, I may not have blocked the most shots, but I think in terms of players, no one has loved this school as much as I have.”

How It Happened
First Half
• Carolina used a 12-2 run over a span of 2:48 to open a 30-18 lead and force a Notre Dame timeout with 5:57 left in the half.
• The Tar Heels widened the lead to as many as 17, shooting 51.6 percent as a team while holding the Irish to 35.5 percent before the half.
• Davis led all scorers with 11 first-half points. Ryan and Ingram scored nine apiece.

Second Half
• The Tar Heels started the second half with a 13-0 run, taking a 29-point lead at 54-25 by the first media timeout.
• Notre Dame missed 10 of 12 field goal attempts in the first 8:13 of the half.
• Carolina’s lead grew to as many as 32 points on two occasions in the first six minutes after the break. The Irish eventually clawed back to within 20 before an 18-0 Tar Heel run ended things.

Postgame Tidbits & Notes
• The Tar Heels are 14-1 at home this season (including 9-1 in ACC games) and 41-6 in the Smith Center in three seasons under head coach Hubert Davis.
• Carolina has won three in a row, five out of six and 12 of the last 14 games against Notre Dame.
• Armando Bacot played in his 162nd career game, breaking a tie with Virginia’s Kihei Clark for the all-time ACC record.
• UNC has led by double figures in 17 of 19 ACC games so far this season. 
• Davis posted his 19th 20-point game of the season, the most games with 20+ by a Tar Heel since Justin Jackson had 19 during the NCAA championship of 2016-17. Carolina is 14-5 when Davis scores 20 or more.
 • Washington scored 10 points for his fourth double-digit scoring game of the season and first since scoring 11 versus Syracuse on Jan. 13.
• It was Washington’s third game with multiple three-pointers and first since hitting two against Charleston Southern on Dec. 29.
• UNC has won 13 games in a row when leading at halftime and is 53-5 under head coach Hubert Davis when leading at the break.
• Carolina has out-rebounded its opponents 19 consecutive times and is 16-3 in those games.
• The UNC defense has held opponents below 40 percent shooting in 33 of 60 halves and 14 of 30 games this season.
• UNC has won 22 consecutive games when holding its opponents under 60 points and 14 in a row when holding opponents under 70.
• UNC has held ACC opponents below 70 points in 23 of the last 35 games.
• The Tar Heels are 16-2 this season when they make more three-pointers than the opposition.

Up Next
Carolina will play its final game of the 2023-24 regular season on Saturday March 9 at Duke. The Tar Heels have clinched a top-two seed and a double bye in the ACC Tournament. They will begin conference tournament play in Washington, D.C., on Thursday March 14.

Follow Tar Heel basketball on X at @UNC_Basketball and @UNCMBBstats and on Instagram at UNC_Basketball.






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