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Off the cuff: I know Hubert Davis points to his defense as the difference against Notre Dame and surely it was a difference. But I kept coming back to offense with Armando Bacot being able to handle the double team well and Caleb Love making better decisions with the basketball.

As for Bacot, Coach Davis said Bacot is playing harder and running the floor better but also they've been working on handling the double team better.

"He handled the double team very well," Coach Davis said. "He did a great job of making the pass out of the double team."

Bacot said he was able to post up closer to the basket and was more patient when double teamed, taking the time to see the whole floor.

On one occasion late in the first half, a double-teamed Bacot found Puff Johnson who scored and was fouled.

Bacot contributed four assists, which is a lot for a big man.

Carolina 81, Notre Dame 64
Bacot, Love pace UNC to run-away win

Armando Bacot controlled the inside game and Caleb Love bounced back from a scoring slump to pace North Carolina to comfortable 81-64 victory in Chapel Hill. (1/7)

Bacot got his ninth double-double of the year with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Love hit three triples on his way to 18 points. It had been four games since Love reached double figures as he averaged seven points each of the previous three games.

UNC coach Hubert Davis was more enthused to talk about his team's defense. "Our guys did a good job guarding the ball," he said. "We moved our feet well and were able to take away the three." Notre Dame averaged 24 threes a game but got off only 18 against Carolina while hitting seven of them.

The game was back and forth for the first 10 minutes but after Puff Johnson hit a three to put Carolina up 20-18 with 9:04 left in the first half, the Tar Heels never trailed again. That was part of a 9-0 run that turned the trajectory of the game.

Love swished a three to give the Heels their first double-digit lead at 31-21 with just under six minutes in the half. Then he hit a three late in the first half to give Carolina a 41-28 margin at the half.

The lead hovered around 13-15 points through the first 10 minutes of the second half. But Notre Dame went on a quick one-minute 8-1 run, led by a pair of threes by Cormac Ryan.

The Tar Heels countered with a 7-0 run and it never got closer than 12 the rest of the way as the lead stretched to as many as 18 points.

Carolina outrebounded the Irish 45-32 and beat the Irish in the paint 42-32.

Notre Dame, now 8-8 overall and 0-5 in the ACC, was led by Nate Laszewski's 17 points. But Carolina was able to hold Laszewski, who got seven threes against Carolina last year, to just one three.

In addition to Bacot's 21 points and Love's 18, R.J. Davis finished with 13 points and five assists while Puff Johnson scored a season-high 11 points.

Carolina, now 11-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference, plays at favored Virginia Tuesday night at 9 p.m. UNC has not won in Virginia since 2012.

Box score

UNC's Caleb Love emerged from a slump with 18 points. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

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