Vander Plas leads No. 13 Virginia past UNC; Bacot injured
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Ben Vander Plas had 17 points and eight rebounds and No. 13 Virginia used a 17-2 second-half run to rally for a 65-58 victory Tuesday night over North Carolina, which lost leading scorer and rebounder Armando Bacot to a left ankle injury early in the game.
Reece Beekman scored 13 points and Armaan Franklin had 12 points and nine rebounds as the Cavaliers (12-3) won their eighth straight meeting with the Tar Heels at John Paul Jones Arena. Freshman Isaac McKneely scored 11 for Virginia, going 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Bacot rolled his ankle 1:18 into the game and did not return, but North Carolina went on a 21-5 run in the first half and led by seven points early in the second. Franklin started Virginia’s rally with a putback dunk, and Vander Plas also had a putback dunk and a pair of 3s, putting Virginia ahead 52-42 with nine minutes left.
RJ Davis led the Tar Heels with 16 points and Caleb Love and Jalen Washington added 13 each. Washington, a freshman, played 27 minutes in Bacot’s absence and matched his season total for field goals with five.
The Tar Heels closed within 58-55 on Love’s 3-pointer with 2:47 to go, but McKneely hit a deep 3 in front of the Virginia bench to restore the lead to six. Love made another 3, but Beekman drove an open lane for a dunk, Vander Plas made a steal and dunked, and Kihei Clark forced a turnover to seal it.
Trailing 10-3 after a slow start for both teams, the Tar Heels surged to a 24-15 lead with just under four minutes left in the half. Washington scoring nine in the flurry. Virginia scored 12 of the last 17 points to get within 29-27 at the half.
North Carolina: Justin McCoy, who played two years at Virginia before transferring to North Carolina before last season, was booed when he entered the game. McCoy had been little-used, making only seven appearances and totaling seven points in those games.
Virginia: With the Cavaliers shooting poorly in the first half (9 of 24, 38%), Beekman highlighted his importance with two steals and fast-break layups, and then another steal that led to a two-on-one break with Clark scoring.
North Carolina: At Louisville on Saturday.
Virginia: At Florida State on Saturday.