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No. 10 North Carolina tightens grip on ACC title with win over Virginia

Ryan M. Kelly / Getty Images Sport / Getty

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Cormac Ryan scored 18 points on six 3-pointers and No. 10 North Carolina moved into first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 54-44 victory against Virginia on Saturday.

Armando Bacot added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Tar Heels (21-6, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who moved into the top spot alone because No. 8 Duke lost earlier in the day at Wake Forest. The victory also ended an eight-game losing streak at John Paul Jones Arena for North Carolina.

Jordan Minor had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers (20-8, 11-6), who could not recover from a 15-minute stretch in the first half during which they missed 22 of 23 field goals tries, leading to a 16-4 North Carolina run. More frustrating for Virginia was that it came with Bacot on the bench in foul trouble.

North Carolina never trailed after the opening minute. It was just 26-16 at halftime, and Virginia closed to within six three times early in the second half, and to within 47-42 with just over two minutes to play, but Minor missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:50 left and Harrison Ingram got free underneath for an easy lay-in at the other end to make it 49-42.

After a basket by Elijah Gertrude got Virginia within five again, Ingram made a free throw, the Tar Heels rebounded his miss and RJ Davis made a pair to seal it.

The Tar Heels were playing for the first time in a week since a 96-81 victory against Virginia Tech. Two night later, the Hokies beat the Cavaliers 75-41.


North Carolina: Davis (ACC-high 21.3 ppg) was scoreless at halftime and Bacot (14.6 ppg) had only two points, but Ryan made five 3-pointers before the break and was their only real offensive threat in the opening 20 minutes.

Virginia: The Cavaliers' offensive has been regressing steadily of late, even before the horrid first half against the Tar Heels. Two games ago, they missed their first 10 free throws in a 49-47 victory against Wake Forest. They then managed just 41 points on 32.4% shooting in their 34-point loss at Virginia Tech.


North Carolina is at home against Miami on Monday night.

Virginia plays at Boston College on Wednesday night.


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