Chapel Hill, NC — Caleb Love led all scorers in this one with 22 points, as North Carolina beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 78-68 at home. The Tar Heels were able to win the battle of the dirty work in this one with a rebounding margin of plus-11 and by hitting 22 of 26 from the free-throw line. Keve Aluma led Virginia Tech in scoring with 19 points.
Desperately needing a conference win, the Hokies (10-9, 2-6 ACC) have an opportunity over the next week to make a jump in the standings. They are led by upperclassmen Keve Aluma and Nahiem Alleyne. Aluma is averaging 15.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while Alleyne is a reliable shooter, hitting 35.2% from deep and 92.1% from the free-throw line.
The Tar Heels (13-6, 5-3 ACC) entered standing No. 6 in the conference standings on a two-game skid, and needing to get back on track. Potential 2022 NBA Draft pick Caleb Love drives the offense. He is scoring 14.6 points per game while shooting 41.9% from deep, a significant improvement from last year. Junior center Armando Bacot leads the team in points and rebounds, averaging a double-double at 16.9 points and 11.3 boards per contest.
Carolina jumped out to a 17-6 lead, with Bacot scoring 12 of the team’s first 14 points. Aluma and Alleyne turned it on halfway through the period and were able to finish with 13 points and 8 points respectively. The Tar Heels led 37-33 at the break, with one of the biggest gaps being on the glass. They were plus-7 in rebounding at that point.
Virginia Tech senior Justyn Mutts scored 5 quick points to open the second half, giving the Hokies a 38-37 lead and the momentum. Love stepped up with a huge three and the teams traded buckets for the next few minutes.
Carolina stretched the lead to 8 points at the 11-minute mark behind three-point makes from Leaky Black and Brady Manek, and never looked back. They maintained the lead moving forward and secured the 78-68 win.
Manek, the Oklahoma transfer, was key in the second half and ended with 15 points on 4 of 8 from deep. Bacot posted another double-double with 14 points and 19 rebounds before fouling out. Sophomore Tar Heel guard R.J. Davis also provided 15 points. Mutts played well for the Hokies with a double-double of his own, scoring 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
The Tar Heels get a much needed win to stay alive in the ACC standings.
North Carolina hosts Boston College on Wednesday night.
Virginia Tech hosts Miami on Wednesday.
Looking to go to the hottest concerts, sports, theater & family shows near you? Get 100% guaranteed tickets to more than 125,000 live events from TicketSmarter, the official ticket marketplace of BasketballNews.com. Order online now!