UNC blows out Michigan in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

North Carolina guard Caleb Love (2) reacts following a basket against Michigan during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CHAPEL HILL — UNC used a 20-5 second-half run to blow out Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the Smith Center, 72-51.

It was the most complete game the Tar Heels have put together this season, knocking off the ranked Wolverines with a dominant second half.

“Toward the end of the first half, Armando (Bacot) scored a couple times,” said UNC coach Hubert Davis, “and I told the coaches, ‘We can score inside.’”

The Tar Heels responded by scoring the final seven points of the half to take a 29-27 lead at the break. Carolina then outscored Michigan 43-24 in the second half. Nearly half of UNC’s points — 34 of 72 — came in the paint, and the Tar Heels outscored Michigan 14-5 on second-chance points.

Bacot finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points with 14 rebounds. He also got Michigan 7-footer Hunter Dickinson in foul trouble, drawing Dickinson’s third and fourth fouls on the same possession less than two minutes into the second half.

“We saw at halftime he had two fouls, and Coach Davis said to take it right at him until he got into foul trouble,” Bacot said. Dickinson played just seven minutes in the second half and finished with four points and five rebounds.

Caleb Love led all scorers with 22 points. He also shut down the Wolverine’s leading scorer, senior Eli Brooks, holding him to 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

“Caleb played an all-around game,” Davis said.

The win was a drastic change from a week and a half ago, when the Tar Heels were swept in a two-game weekend tournament in Connecticut.

“The guys wanted another opportunity against a big-time team to go out and put a full game together,” Davis said. “Now these guys have a memory. They have a story to tell — about being in a big-time crowd against an unbelievable opponent. My hope is they want to have those feelings over and over again.”