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North Carolina 92, Florida State 67

North Carolina 92, Florida State 67

STEPHEN WHYNO
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON - Armando Bacot scored 14 points and grabbed 10 of his team’s 48 rebounds to Florida State’s 22, and fourth-ranked North Carolina rolled into the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals with a 92-67 victory.

Bacot got the double-double with a rebound on his final play before being pulled midway through the second half, and unanimous ACC player of the year RJ Davis scored a game-high 18 points.

Winning their sixth in a row, the Tar Heels flexed their muscles on the boards, at one point grabbing four offensive rebounds on the same possession late in the first half. By halftime, the Seminoles had just six.

A combination of rebounding domination and some timely shooting — as Florida State went ice cold from the floor — helped UNC (26-6, 18-3 ACC) pull away. Shooting for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the ACC’s regular-season champions face Wake Forest or Pitt on Friday night with a spot in the final on the line.

No. 11 Duke could be there for a rematch from last week and a third meeting between the Tobacco Road rivals in the past two months. UNC has not reached an ACC Tournament final since 2018 and hasn’t won it since 2016, when it was also in Washington.

Unlike the Blue Devils, FSU didn’t pose much of a challenge to UNC, which also got 14 from Cormac Ryan, who went 3 of 4 from 3-point range fresh off his leading performance at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Primo Spears led ninth-seeded Florida State (17-16, 10-11) with 17 points. Spears did so in his old home arena after playing last season at Georgetown.

BIG PICTURE

Florida State: Missing the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive season could bring some questions about how the program is trending under longtime coach Leonard Hamilton. The struggles came after the Seminoles reached the Sweet 16 twice and made one trip to the Elite Eight sandwiched around a successful 2019-20 season that would have brought a high seed before the tournament was canceled because of the pandemic.

North Carolina: The selection committee is watching, and there’s no rust on a team that looks every bit like a national championship contender. The Tar Heels were sharp in their first game since Saturday, and even if they may need another top team to falter in its conference tournament, is on track to get a No. 1 seed if they keep playing like this the rest of the week.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

North Carolina athletics press release

March 14, 2024





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