ATLANTA (AP) — RJ Davis scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the second half Sunday afternoon as North Carolina pulled away in the second half to defeat Georgia Tech 79-62 in the ACC opener for both teams.
The game was tied 31-all at halftime, after UNC (6-2) overcame a nine-point deficit behind stingy defense. Georgia Tech (5-3) lost its second straight contest as senior guard Michael Devoe, who entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer with a 25-point average, was limited to 13 points on 5 of 12 shooting.
Freshman guard Deebo Coleman scored 13 points for Tech, which also got 13 from senior wingman Khalid Moore.
North Carolina won with balance. Four players finished with double-figure scoring, including Caleb Love with with 17 points and Armando Bacot who pitched in with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Georgia Tech was the better team for much of the first half.
The Yellow Jackets built a nine-point lead on a steal and dunk by Moore with 8:43 remaining, but North Carolina outscored the Jackets 17-8 from there to even the score by halftime.
Devoe scored just six points over the first half as North Carolina made it difficult for him to receive the ball and generally double-teamed him any time he had ball inside of the 3-point line.
North Carolina coach Hubert Davis, who is in his first season at the helm of the Tar Heels, had his team play mostly man-to-man defense and generally deployed guards Anthony Harris and Leaky Black on the Tech sharpshooter.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels warmed up in the second half largely because they started moving the ball around with greater urgency than in the first half.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets were erratic from start to finish on offense. They hit a respectable 46 percent of their shots, but didn’t find many good shots. The Jackets had just eight assists as a team.
The Georgia Tech crowd cheered during a timeout midway through the second half when it was announced in McCamish Pavilion that the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team had beaten Georgia 55-54 in Athens earlier on Sunday. The team took the floor during a time out late in the game, and head coach Nell Fortner, who coached the US Women’s team to an Olympic gold medal in 2000, took a microphone out on the court and rallied fans for having beaten the Yellow Jackets’ most relevant rival.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels will next play Saturday, at home, against Elon.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets host LSU on Saturday.