North Carolina’s Brady Manek outscored Virginia in the first half on the way to 21 points as the No. 25 Tar Heels rolled in a 63-43 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals Thursday night in New York.
Armando Bacot added 10 points and 11 rebounds for North Carolina, setting the school record for double-doubles in a season with 24. Caleb Love also scored 10 points.
North Carolina (24-8) meets seventh-seeded Virginia Tech, an 87-70 upset winner over second-seeded Notre Dame, in Friday night’s second semifinal.
Jaylen Gardner scored 17 points to pace Virginia (19-13).
After appearing in seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments and winning the 2019 edition, it’s likely Virginia will miss out on this year’s event.
The Cavaliers shot 34.6 percent, including 3-for-11 on 3-pointers. They committed 11 turnovers.
North Carolina led 33-13 at halftime, with Virginia going the last 6:12 without scoring. With 19 points, Manek had more points than the Cavaliers by halftime.
Virginia’s first-half points were the lowest total in a half for any team in the ACC tournament in the shot clock era.
Manek had 11 early points — aided by three 3-point baskets — as the Tar Heels built a 21-11 lead about 11 minutes into the game.
That early run included a bucket from reserve Justin McKoy, a transfer from Virginia. He hadn’t scored since Jan. 24.
When R.J. Davis tipped in his own miss with 5:33 to play in the half, it stretched the lead to 25-13.
Reece Beekman made the only attempted 3-point shot for Virginia across the opening 16 minutes. That was notable because a night earlier the Cavaliers became the first team in history to win an ACC tournament game without connecting on a 3-pointer since the arc was established for the college game.
Entering the season, North Carolina had lost seven straight meetings with Virginia. Coupled with a home win in January, the Tar Heels have won both matchups this season.
–Field Level Media