After playing three games over a span of seven days, North Carolina will be a full week between games when the Tar Heels host Georgia Tech in an Atlantic Coast Conference rematch Saturday night in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Both teams are coming off victories with the Tar Heels (11-4, 3-1 ACC) spanking Virginia 74-58 and the Yellow Jackets (7-8, 1-4) posting an 81-76 triumph at Boston College last weekend.
Coach Hubert Davis gave his Heels a day off “to get their breath” after their performance against the Cavaliers. It was their third win in four outings since getting demolished 98-69 by Kentucky before Christmas.
“It is a much-needed rest for them,” Davis said.
The Heels got a big performance out of Armando Bacot, who recorded career highs of 29 points and 22 rebounds against the Cavaliers. Bacot was 12 of 18 from the field and had only one turnover in logging 38 minutes.
“Every year, Armando has gotten better,” Davis said.
The Tar Heels won the first meeting with the Yellow Jackets 79-62 in Atlanta in early December, but a lineup change last Saturday against Boston College produced the Jackets’ “best game offensively” this season, coach Josh Pastner said.
Paster went with a small lineup, starting 6-foot-6 Deebo Coleman at the “5” spot in place of 6-foot-8 Jordan Meka, and with Tristan Maxwell (22 points, 7 of 11 on 3-pointers) lighting it up, the Jackets hit more than half their field-goal attempts (29 of 57) for the first time since late November.
“Our defense has been good for us this year,” Pastner said, “but we haven’t been able to score enough to win.”
Going small helped produced what Pastner called more “bursts” offensively. The win was just their third time scoring in the 80s and first since beating Charleston Southern 85-70 in November.
“Our pace was better, our speed was better,” Pastner said. “That was a big deal.”