Armando Bacot’s milestone day muted by Terquavion Smith injury

UNC topped NC State in Chapel Hill

NC State guard Terquavion Smith is tended to by medical personnel after he crashed to the floor after being fouled during UNC's win over the Wolfpack on Saturday in Chapel Hill. (Chris Seward / AP Photo)

CHAPEL HILL — It was a big day for Armando Bacot as he reached two career milestones in his UNC Tar Heels’ win over NC State on Saturday. The 80-69 victory in Chapel Hill was tempered, however, by an injury that sent NC State star Terquavion Smith to the hospital.

Smith, who scored 34 points in Chapel Hill last season, had scored 12 points midway through the second half when he drove to the hoop looking to cut into a small UNC lead. He was met by Carolina senior Leaky Black, who jumped with Smith and, in an effort to block his layup attempt, clubbed Smith in the head, sending him crashing to the floor.

NC State players were split after the game over whether the foul was a “dirty play,” but Black was assessed a flagrant two foul, which resulted in an ejection from the game. Smith lay on the floor for more than 10 minutes as medical staffs from both teams assisted in his treatment. A soft cast was placed on his left arm, which he fell on, to stabilize it, and his head and neck were stabilized as he was loaded onto a backboard and stretcher and wheeled from the floor.

“I’ve known Leaky Black, so I don’t think he’d have made a dirty play,” said NC State coach Kevin Keatts, who said that Smith had been taken to a local hospital for treatment on his arm and neck.

“I talked to Leaky after the game,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. “He is such a sweet, kind kid. He was worried about Terquavion. Nobody wants anybody to get hurt and injured. Leaky went over when they were taking Terquavion off the court, and he already asked for Terquavion’s phone number so he can call and check up on him.”

The incident cast a pall on an otherwise big night for Bacot, who set two school records with his 23-point, 18-rebound performance. It was his 61st career double-double, breaking UNC’s career mark previously set by basketball Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham 58 years earlier.

With about five minutes left in the game, Bacot grabbed his 17th rebound, which gave him 1,220 for his UNC career, one more than Tyler Hansbrough, who set the Tar Heels’ career mark back in 2009. Hansbrough was at the game, but a planned in-game ceremony involving him and Bacot was pushed to after the contest.

“I think now it is starting to sink in and to greet Tyler Hansbrough after just meant everything to me,” Bacot said. “Growing up, seeing how great of a player he was. Not just at UNC, but just in college in general, he is one of the greatest players of all time. To be able to pass him just means a lot.”

RJ Davis also contributed to the UNC win in a physical game where officiating was called into question. There was a large foul disparity, with State getting called for 27 fouls, 11 more than UNC. The difference in free throws was even more stark, with NC State going 12 for 12 and UNC 36 for 39. It was the most made free throws for Carolina since 2005. RJ Davis, who led UNC with 26 points, went 14 for 14 from the line, becoming just the fifth Tar Heel to hit that many in a game without a miss.

“We made six more field goals than them,” Keatts said, deftly avoiding criticizing the officiating after the game. “I’ve never been involved in a game where a team took 39 free throws.”

State saw a four-game winning streak end and fell to 15-5, 5-4 in the ACC, which tied the Wolfpack for ninth place. The team also may have suffered a much larger loss if Smith will miss significant time.

UNC won its third straight to improve to 14-6, 6-3 in the conference which puts the Heels in a third-place tie.