College Basketball Roundup: Bacot helps UNC overcome slow start at Charleston

NC State improved to 3-0; High Point, UNCW and NC Central all lost

UNC's RJ Davis brings the ball up as College of Charleston's Osinachi Smart during the Tar Heels' 94-83 win Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina. (Mic Smith / AP Photo)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Armando Bacot scored a career-high 24 points, tied his career best with six blocks and added 12 rebounds as No. 18 UNC rallied in the second half to beat Charleston 94-83 on Tuesday night.

It was the first road game of the season for the Tar Heels and new coach Hubert Davis, and the Cougars (3-1) had them on their heels for the opening half.

But behind Bacot, UNC started the second half on a 23-9 run to take a 59-51 lead with 11:56 to play.

Charleston closed within 72-71 on Reyne Smith’s two foul shots with 6:12 left. But Kerwin Walton followed with a 3-pointer and Caleb Love made a jumper to extend the lead.

Smith led the Cougars with 19 points off five 3-pointers.

Love had 22 points, 18 in the second half, as North Carolina had four players in double figures to move to 3-0 for the eighth straight season.

Not that Charleston made it easy.

The Cougars hadn’t hosted a Top 25 opponent since UNC visited in 2010 while ranked ninth. The Tar Heels and coach Roy Williams left with an 82-79 overtime loss.

Williams, who retired this year, was in the stands this time next to the Charleston coach who beat him that time — Bobby Cremins, who also coached at Georgia Tech.

What they saw must have given them flashbacks to 11 years ago as Charleston got off to a hot start and forced the Tar Heels to battle back.

Smith hit three 3-pointers to put the Cougars up 26-15.

The Tar Heels closed within 30-27 on Bacot’s inside basket with 5:05 to play. But Charleston added the final two of its seven first-half 3s to stretch its lead to 42-36 at the break.

North Carolina tightened up its play in the final 20 minutes. The Tar Heels, who came in averaging fewer than 10 turnovers per game, committed 11 in the first half but cut that to five in the second.

Reserve Brady Manek scored 17 points for UNC and Walton had 14, also off the bench.

The Tar Heels face three ranked opponents in their next four games — No. 6 Purdue, either No. 17 Tennessee or No. 5 Villanova, and No. 4 Michigan.

NC State 79, Central Connecticut 65

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Dereon Seabron had a career-high 24 points, nine rebounds and three steals to help NC State beat Central Connecticut 79-65 on Tuesday night at the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase.

Seabron, who had double-doubles in the first two games of the season, made 8 of 12 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Terquavion Smith added 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and five assists for NC State (3-0). Cam Hayes scored 10 points.

Seabron scored the final five points of the first half before Casey Morsell and Jericole Hellems capped a 10-2 run to open the second with back-to-back 3-pointers and gave the Wolfpack their biggest lead of the game at 42-35.

Trenton McLaughlin made two 3-pointers 67 seconds apart to pull Central Connecticut (0-3) within a point with 9:19 to play, but the 6-foot-7 Seabron took over. He used his speed and long frame to continuously get to the rim — both in transition and in the half court — where he consistently finished, was fouled, or both.

He converted a three-point play 13 seconds later and made a fast-break layup 27 seconds after that to spark a 13-0 run to push Wolfpack’s lead into double figures for good. Seabron added three more layups down the stretch, drawing contact on the last of those and hitting the 1-and-1 free throw to make it 74-59 with 1:43 left.

Tre Mitchell had 14 points, McLaughlin scored 13 and Stephane Ayangma added 10 for the Blue Devils.

Notre Dame 70, High Point 61

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Paul Atkinson Jr. scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Notre Dame beat High Point 70-61 on Tuesday night.

Atkinson, a Yale transfer, was 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. Dane Goodwin added 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Nate Laszewski had 10 points and 16 rebounds for Notre Dame (2-0). Cormac Ryan had 10 points.

The Fighting Irish, which trailed 33-32 at halftime, opened the second half on a 25-12 run for a 57-45 lead with about eight minutes to play. Atkinson scored 12 points and Ryan added six during the stretch. The Irish led by double digits nearly the rest of the way.

John-Michael Wright and Jaden House scored 17 points apiece for High Point (1-2). Zack Austin added 11 points. They combined for all seven of the Panthers’ made 3-pointers.

The Irish will travel to Las Vegas for the Maui Invitational. High Point plays its next four at home.

Pittsburgh 59, UNC Wilmington 51

PITTSBURGH — Femi Odukale scored 15 points, John Hugley had 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds and Pittsburgh held on to beat UNC Wilmington 59-51 on Tuesday night.

Jamarius Burton hit a 3-pointer to give Pitt a 17-6 lead about 7 minutes in and the Panthers, who never trailed, made back-to-back layups to open the second half that stretched their lead to 38-21. Shykeim Phillips answered with a 3-pointer to spark an 11-2 run for the Seahawks, and UNCW later used a 13-2 spurt to trim its deficit to 49-47 when Jaylen Fornes hit a 3 midway through the period.

The Seahawks made just 1 of 15 from the field as Pitt made 8 of 14 from the free-throw line to seal it. The Panthers missed 12 of their final 13 shots from the field, including the last seven.

Trazarien White had 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals for UNCW (1-2) and Mike Okauru added 12 points.

Pitt (1-2), which lost its first two games of the season for just the second time in the last 25 years, avoided its first 0-3 start to a season since 1996-97. The Panthers lost 78-63 to The Citadel in their opener and dropped a 75-59 decision to West Virginia last Friday.

Burton, a transfer from Texas Tech who started his career at Wichita State, made his debut for the Panthers and finished with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting in 25 minutes. The 6-foot-4 senior had been sidelined nearly six weeks after having surgery on his left knee on Oct. 8.

Iowa 86, NC Central 69

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Keegan Murray had 27 points and 21 rebounds — both career highs — and Iowa used a 14-3 second-half run to pull away in its 86-69 win over North Carolina Central on Tuesday night.

Murray, who set then-career bests of 24 and 25 points in the first two games of the season, made 9 of 10 from the free-throw line and blocked four shots. His 21 rebounds are the most by an Iowa player since Greg Brunner had 23 against Minnesota on January 18, 2006.

Eric Boone and Randy Miller Jr. made back-to-back layups before Alex Caldwell hit a 3-pointer for the Eagles to make it 57-all with 12 minutes to play. Murray scored eight points, including three dunks, as Iowa (3-0) scored 18 of the next 24 points to pull away for good.

Patrick McCaffrey hit a 3-pointer and a layup to spark a 15-0 run, capping the spurt with a dunk that made it 38-23 with 6:24 left in the first half. N.C. Central (0-3) cut its deficit to 49-44 at halftime.

Miller led the Eagles with 15 points, Marque Maultsby added 12 points and eight rebounds and Kris Monroe scored 10 points.

The Hawkeyes shot just 38% from the field, compared to 47% by NCCU, but outrebounded the Eagles 44-31 and outscored them 35-8 from the free-throw line — where Iowa shot 85%.

McCaffrey finished with 15 points, Tony Perkins scored 13 and Ahron Ulis added 12 for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s Jordan Bohannan hit a 3-pointer 46 seconds into the game, giving him 374 career 3s made to tie Ohio State’s Jon Diebler (2008-11) for the Big Ten’s all-time record.