CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — RJ Davis scored 25 points and No. 3 North Carolina held off Miami for a 75-72 victory on Saturday.
Armando Bacot had 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Tar Heels (19-5, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) in their first game since an 80-76 home loss to Clemson on Tuesday. Elliot Cadeau scored 19 points, and Harrison Ingram finished with 13.
The win snapped a two-game skid against Miami, including a 28-point road loss two years ago.
“I like 20-point wins – that would be great – but Miami’s a really good team,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said. “We haven’t had very much success against them of late, especially here. They continued to fight and we made a couple of plays down the stretch to be able to pull out the win.”
The Tar Heels took the lead for good with an 18-7 spurt to start the second half. Bacot’s layup made it 58-48 with 13:11 remaining.
Miami (15-9, 6-7) closed to 73-71 on Wooga Poplar’s layup with 1:10 left. Ingram and Cormac Ryan each made a foul shot to increase North Carolina’s lead to 75-71.
Bacot fouled Poplar with two seconds remaining. Poplar made the first free throw and deliberately missed the second for an offensive rebound opportunity. Officials ruled Miami committed a lane violation on Poplar’s attempt.
“The last three to four minutes we have to be better but I’m glad we got out with a win in an environment like this,” Bacot said. “To beat them and to beat them here is amazing.”
Norchard Omier and Nijel Pack each scored 20 points for the Hurricanes, who lost 60-38 at Virginia on Monday.
“The thing about North Carolina is they’re exceptional at running the court,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “They outran us and we fought back. We put ourselves in position to win the game late. We just weren’t able to pull it off.”
Davis was 5 for 11 from 3-point range. He also was assigned to defend Pack for most of the second half. Pack scored two points and shot 1 of 8 from the field after halftime.
“He’s a great player because of his shot-making capability and creating space,” Davis said. “I was trying to make his catches difficult and pressure him on ball screen coverages. Just trying to make it difficult because he’s a really good player.”
Omier and Pack each scored eight points during a 19-5 run late in the first half that erased an eight-point deficit. Pack’s jumper put the Hurricanes ahead 37-33 with 3:01 left.
Davis’ layup in the closing seconds moved North Carolina within one at the break.
Bacot set a Tar Heels record by playing in his 156th game, surpassing Leaky Black, who played between 2018 and 2023. The graduate senior also overtook Sam Perkins for third on the school’s career points list with 2,149. He also tied Oscar Robertson and Michael Brooks for eighth most double-doubles in NCAA history with 79.
“It’s great just to be at this point and have the milestones and all that but just excited we got that win,” Bacot said. “That’s all that really matters.”
The loss against Clemson likely will drop the Tar Heels from the No. 3 spot in the AP poll that they’ve held the past three weeks.
North Carolina visits Syracuse on Tuesday.
Miami visits Clemson on Wednesday.
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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball