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Ryan & Bacot Lead Heels Past UVA, 54-44

North Carolina

By: Matt Bowers

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—Cormac Ryan hit six three-pointers and Armando Bacot added a double-double to lead 10th-ranked North Carolina to a 54-44 win at Virginia on Saturday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena.

The win snapped an eight-game losing streak at Virginia and gave Carolina its first victory in Charlottesville since 2012. That eight-game skid was the longest in UNC history at any arena or opponent’s home court.

UNC improved to 21-6 overall and 13-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the win, solidifying its grip on first place in the conference standings. Duke, which lost at Wake Forest on Saturday, is 12-4 in ACC play. Virginia is 11-6.

The Tar Heels moved to 7-2 on the road this season, all in ACC action. The Cavaliers fell to 14-2 at home. Virginia has lost two in a row and three of its last four.

Ryan drained a season-high 6 of 11 three-point attempts, one shy of his career high of seven set with Notre Dame against Alabama in 2022-23, and scored 18 points to lead the Tar Heels in scoring for the first time this season. He has scored 52 points (17.3 per game) and is 14 for 27 from three-point range (51.9 percent) in the last three games.

Bacot overcame first-half foul trouble and posted 10 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double and the UNC-record 82nd in his career.

The Cavs’ defense held RJ Davis, the ACC’s leading scorer, without a point in the first half. Davis missed 13 of 14 field goal tries, including 7 of 8 three-point attempts in the game. He saw his school-record steak of 23 consecutive games with multiple three-pointers come to an end, but he hit 9 of 10 free throw tries and finished with 12 points.

UNC’s 54 points were its fewest in a victory since defeating Virginia, 54-51, on February 25, 2012 (which is also the last time Carolina won in Charlottesville).

Carolina’s defense was the story of the day.

Virginia’s overall 27.6 percent (16 of 58) field goal shooting performance was its lowest since 23.4 percent (11 of 47) vs. Wisconsin on Dec. 4, 2013. The Cavs’ 16.7 percent first-half shooting was its worst in 15 years under head coach Tony Bennett and its lowest since a 3 of 22 effort vs. Florida State on Jan. 24, 2009.

Virginia’s 16 first-half points are the fewest by a UNC opponent in any half since UVA had 13 in the first half on March 10, 2022, in the ACC Tournament. The Cavs’ 16.7 percent first-half field goal percentage was the lowest against UNC in nearly two years.

“They had a week to prepare and were right defensively, made it hard and you can see why they’re a good team,” said Bennett of the Tar Heels. “[Cormac Ryan] really was good in the first half, and I thought we didn’t tag him as close as we needed to and that was the story for sure in the first half.”

How It Happened
First Half
• UNC went on a 12-2 run to take a 12-4 lead in the opening minutes. Virginia missed 14 of its first 17 shots to that point.
• Carolina’s defense forced UVA to miss 23 of its first 27 shots (14.8 percent) in the first 18 minutes.
• The Tar Heels didn’t light up the scoreboard, either, shooting 37.0 percent as a team in the first half.
• Ryan hit 5 of 8 three-pointers in the first half alone, setting a season high in three-pointers. He scored 15 first-half points.
• Davis was scoreless in the first half, shooting 0 for 6 from the floor.
• Virginia’s first-half field goal percentage of 16.7 was the lowest in a half by a UNC opponent since Boston College shot 16.7 percent in the first half on Jan. 2, 2022.

Second Half
• Davis first FG a three-pointer with 13:44 remaining in the second half for his first and only field goal of the day.
• Carolina missed 14 of its first 18 shots of the second half (shooting 22.2 percent) but maintained its lead by limiting UVA to 39 percent shooting after halftime.
• Virginia held UNC without a field goal for nearly seven minutes of game time in the late stages of the half but could not retake the lead.

Postgame Tidbits & Notes
• The Tar Heels played their first game in a week since a home win over Virginia Tech last Saturday (Feb. 17) in Chapel Hill.
• Carolina is 135-62 all-time against Virginia, including 45-38 on the road and 5-8 at John Paul Jones Arena.
• UNC is 7-2 on the road this season, all in ACC play.
• Virginia fell to 14-2 at home in 2023-24 and saw its eight-game home winning streak over UNC come to an end.
• That eight-game losing streak at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville was the longest for UNC at any one arena or any opponent’s home court in program history.
• UNC has won 21 consecutive games when holding its opponents under 60 points and 13 in a row when holding opponents under 70.
• UNC has won 11 games in a row when leading at halftime. It is 51-5 when leading at halftime under head coach Hubert Davis.
• UNC has held ACC opponents below 70 points in 22 of the last 34 games.
• Carolina has out-rebounded its opponents 16 consecutive times and is 13-3 in those games.
• The Tar Heels are 15-2 this season when they make more three-pointers than the opposition.
• The UNC defense has held opponents below 40 percent shooting in 29 of 54 halves and 12 of 27 games this season.
• UVA’s 27.6 percent (16 of 58) field goal shooting for the game was its lowest since 23.4 percent (11 of 47) vs. Wisconsin on Dec. 4, 2013.
 • The 16.7 percent first half shooting was UVA’s lowest since a 3 of 22 effort vs. Florida State on Jan. 24, 2009 (so lowest in the Tony Bennett Era at Virginia).
• Both teams made 16 field goals. It was the first time both teams made that few since Carolina’s 51-40 win over The Citadel on 2/1/1980 (UNC made 16, The Citadel 15).
• The last time UNC played an ACC game when both teams made 16 or fewer field goals was 3/4/1966, when UNC and Duke both made seven in a 21-20 Blue Devil win in the ACC Tournament.

Up Next
Carolina has a quick turnaround and will host Miami in the Smith Center on Monday at 7 p.m.

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






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