UNC tops Boston College in sloppy game

North Carolina guard R.J. Davis (4) and Boston College forward T.J. Bickerstaff (1) chase the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CHAPEL HILL — The Basketball Hall of Fame likely won’t be asking for a copy of the game film from UNC’s win Wednesday over Boston College. However, the Tar Heels managed to get by the Eagles 58-47 in a sloppy night of basketball on both sides.

Both teams were playing their third game in five days, and the fatigue showed for much of the evening.

UNC shot just 29.1% for the game, while Boston College wasn’t much better at 33.3%. The Eagles also hit just 1 of 16 from 3-point range. Despite all the missed shots, the two teams combined for just 14 second-chance points.

“It was ugly on our part on the offensive end, but we grinded it out,” said Caleb Love, who led UNC with 16 points but managed just 5-of-17 shooting.

“Shots weren’t falling,” Love added. “It’s kind of weird. That usually happens on the road. It’s not supposed to happen at home.”

Carolina’s shooting night was historically bad. It’s the worst UNC has ever shot in a win, breaking a record set in 1957.

Armando Bacot struggled against the Boston College post players, scoring just six points on 1-of-10 shooting and snapping his string of 10 straight double-doubles. Since hitting his first six shots against Virginia Tech on Monday, Bacot has shot 3 of 22. Over the last three games, he’s 13 of 41.

The Tar Heels defense helped to keep the offensive struggles from being fatal. UNC held Boston College to 21.4% in the second half, and the 16 points allowed after halftime were the fewest since December 2016.

“Holding an ACC team to 16 points is winning basketball to me,” said Leaky Black.

Despite the heavy workload — UNC played on Saturday at Wake Forest and Monday against Virginia Tech — coach Hubert Davis relied heavily on his starters. For the second straight game, all five starters logged at least 34 minutes, and the UNC bench combined for just 21 minutes in the game, nine in the second half.

“It’s always good to get a rest,” said Love. “But if Coach needs me out there, I’ll stay out there. I’ll play the whole game if I have to.”

“We’re all battle-tested,” said Black. “I don’t think we were tired today. Just couldn’t get the ball to go through the goal.”

Now North Carolina will finish its busy week by hosting NC State on Saturday.

“We all know what’s at stake,” said Black. “Not to jinx anything, but I don’t think we’ll shoot that low a percentage.”

“It’s all about taking care of our bodies,” Love said. “We’ll get treatment tonight, treatment tomorrow. It’s an off day tomorrow, so we’ll rest, get our bodies treated on and get ready for Saturday. I’ll be ready. I know my teammates will be too.”