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Love, Bacot lead balanced North Carolina past Virginia Tech

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- — Caleb Love scored 22 points, Armando Bacot had 14 points and 19 rebounds and all five starters scored in double figures as North Carolina defeated Virginia Tech 78-68 on Monday night.

The Tar Heels bounced back at home after two blowout losses on the road. They lost to Miami 85-57 and to Wake Forest 98-76 last week.

Brady Manek added 15 points and eight rebounds, R. J Davis scored 15 points and Leaky Black had 10 points as the Tar Heels' starters scored all but two of their points.

Keve Aluma made a pair of free throws to draw Virginia Tech within 57-54 with 5:36 remaining in the second half but Manek had a dunk and a 3-pointer and Love made 3 of 4 free throws as the Tar Heels extended their lead to 11 points.

Love's jumper with 1:43 remaining was the Tar Heels' last field goal and they finished off the win with 7 free throws in 8 attempts down the stretch.

Aluma had 19 points, six rebounds and three assists for Virginia Tech. Justyn Mutts had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Hunter Cattoor scored 13 points and Nahiem Alleyne had 10 points. Virginia Tech led in bench points 6-2.

The Tar Heels were able to increase their 4-point halftime lead despite shooting 33% in the second half. Six of their 10 second-half field goals were 3-pointers.

The Tar Heels shot 36.5% for the game, making 10 of 25 3-pointers. They had a 15-point advantage at the free-throw line, making 22 of 26 compared to Virginia Tech's 7 of 11. The Hokies shot 47% for the game and made 7 of 18 3-pointers.

North Carolina played without Dawson Garcia who had returned home to Minnesota due to an illness in his family. He averages 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

The game was rescheduled from Dec. 29, forcing both teams to play three games in five days. Miami visits Virginia Tech on Wednesday and North Carolina will be at home against Boston College.

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