UNC basketball dominates in win over Georgia Tech as Tar Heels remain perfect at home

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North Carolina rolled past Georgia Tech 88-65 behind another strong performance from forward Armando Bacot Saturday at the Dean E. Smith Center.

Bacot scored a career-high tying 29 points as the Tar Heels (12-4, 4-1 ACC) never trailed while keeping their record at home perfect through nine games this season. It was a bookend for career-high games for Bacot, as he set it last Saturday in their home win over Virginia.

It was all-around a feel good game for the Heels, as they welcomed forward Dawson Garcia and guard Kerwin Walton back into the lineup. Garcia missed the past two games due to a concussion he suffered early in their win over Boston College. Walton was isolated in COVID-19 protocol and also sat out the Notre Dame and Virginia games.

Here’s what we learned from the Tar Heels’ win:

In-game shootaround

Georgia Tech just doesn’t have the personnel to matchup with Carolina.

The Yellow Jackets opened the game playing a 1-3-1 zone and the Heels carved it up from the start. R.J. Davis made four 3-pointers in the first half, which highlighted how many open looks the Heels managed to get.

Even when the Jackets came out of the zone to go man-to-man, the onslaught continued. Armando Bacot, the ACC’s leader in field goal percentage, scored on dunks for his first four baskets.

Carolina shot 56 percent from the field and made 10-of-17 3-pointers against the Jackets in its win last month in Atlanta. The Heels shot 47.6 percent from the field on Saturday.

RJ bounces back

R.J. Davis had his worst shooting performance of his career when the Heels beat Virginia last week. Davis went 0-for-10 from the field including five missed 3s. On the very first possession against the Georgia Tech zone, he snapped that streak of misses with a corner 3-pointer off a Leaky Black assist.

Davis, who had 23 points against the Jackets in their first meeting, scored 16 points in the first half. It marked the second time this season he’s scored as many in one half, duplicating his second half effort against Purdue.

Davis finished with 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field, stopping short of his career-high of 26 points against Brown this season.

Manek to stay a starter?

Even with the return of Garcia from a concussion, Brady Manek remained in the starting lineup for Carolina. It was just the fourth start of the season for the grad transfer from Oklahoma, who scored 11 points.

What Manek brings to the lineup is a better shooter — he entered last night shooting 49.7 percent from the field, compared to Garcia’s 43.9 percent. Manek’s 30 made 3-pointers also ranks second on the team behind Caleb Love.

They are about the same as rebounders: Garcia entered the game averaging 5.5 boards per game while Manek was at 5.7. Garcia had 11 rebounds against the Jackets and finished with four points.

But Manek is a better passer with more than double the assists of Garcia — including four against the Yellow Jackets.

All those reasons why Manek could stay in the starting lineup, are also the reasons why Davis may want him to serve as a spark off the bench.

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