Hubert Davis stresses importance of getting best out of Armando Bacot

On3 imageby:Barkley Truax02/04/24


Armando Bacot shot 77 percent from the floor and scored 25 points in North Carolina‘s 93-84 win over Duke on Saturday. It was Bacot’s first 20+ point performance since November.

Tar Heels head coach Hubert Davis believes Bacot is one of the best big men in the country, but his numbers in recent games have dwindled. Davis explained why it was so important for Bacot’s confidence to have a massive performance against an opponent like Duke.

“I thought it was important for him to get off to a good start and he was able to do that,” Davis said postgame. “I felt like that gave him confidence to be able to be a force and effective on the offensive end.

“When he’s dominant down low in the post like that, that just opens everything up for us. It gives us space to drive and to penetrate and get to the basket. It gets us open shots on the perimeter, gets us closer to the penalty. … So there’s a number of benefits for us when our Armando is aggressive and plays the way that he did tonight.”

Bacot ended Saturday’s win over Duke with a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double — a massive jump from his performance just days before the rivalry game against the Blue Devils. Georgia Tech downed the Tar Heels 74-73 and Bacot scored just nine points on 4-of-8 shot attempts to go with nine boards.

Before that, Bacot was still struggling. Coming into the Duke game, he was averaging 6.3 points per game over UNC’s last three matchups. Despite Bacot’s low numbers compared to his averages — he rose to the occasion on the biggest stage. After defeating the Blue Devils, Davis believes his star big man is back on the right track after his slump.

“I told him I loved him and I’m so proud of him,” Davis said. “And I gave him a kiss on the cheek, or on the neck, I couldn’t get up to his cheek. It was good, just really proud of him.”

Now, the Tar Heels move on to face Clemson on Tuesday at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET live on ESPN.

As of this report, UNC won’t have another ranked matchups until the Tar Heels face off against Duke on the road during the season finale on March 9th. That gives Bacot a perfect opportunity to hit his stride before his final chance to make a run during the NCAA Tournament.