Chapel Hill, NC – UNC’s Armando Bacote set two school records, including the program’s all-time rebounding mark, and the Tar Heels beat NC State 80-69 on Saturday in Chapel Hill.
But the game was marred by a terrible fall and injury to NC State star guard Terquavion Smith, who had to be carried off the court on a stretcher after being hit by a car in the second half and suffering neck and elbow injuries.
Smith was fouled by UNC’s Lakey Black and fell to the ground. The game was stopped for 11 minutes while Smith was attended to by medical personnel. He left the court with what appeared to be a bandage on his right hand and a towel covering his face.
He was immediately taken out of the game and taken to the hospital.
“My prayers and thoughts are with Terquavion right now,” NC State coach Kevin Cates said after the game. He said he had no update on Smith’s condition and was waiting. “It’s a very emotional situation for me at the moment. Obviously, the game is very important. I thought our guys fought, but my prayers and thoughts always go to my players in times like this.”
UNC coach Hubert Davis opened his postgame press conference by discussing Smith.
“He’s an unbelievable kid and an unbelievable player, and you never want to see anybody hurt or get hurt,” Davis said. “My hope and prayer is that he’s not hurt and that he doesn’t get hurt. He’s a great player and he just wanted to talk about it and I wanted to tell you that I don’t like to see that.”
Black is adjudged two guilty and out of the game.
“I know Leaky Black so I don’t think he’s going to make a dirty game,” Cates said.
The game was tied with 9:45 left in the second half. UNC led 59-49 at the time.
“I don’t think he has bad intentions,” NC State’s Casey Morsel said. “I think there are other ways to try to make plays on the ball. It obviously went to the head, and T (Smith) took a hard hit. It wasn’t necessary, but I don’t think it was bad intent.”
Davis called Black a “sweet, kind boy” and said Black asked for Smith’s number so he could contact him and make sure he was okay.
Smith was the Wolfpack’s leading scorer entering the game with 19.1 points per game. He had 12 points in 24 minutes before the injury.
Bakot keeps records.
Bacot had 23 points and 18 rebounds in the win to become UNC’s all-time leading scorer. He once again surpassed Tyler Hansboro, and Billy Cunningham in double-doubles (double figures in points and rebounds per game).
Hansborough attended the game and was courtside with Bacot for a quick postgame ceremony. Bacot grabbed 17 rebounds to surpass Hansborough’s school record of 1,219 career rebounds.
Bacot now has 61 double-doubles in 119 career games, surpassing Cunningham’s mark of 60.
“The biggest feeling as a coach is knowing what a player or a team is, what they bring to the table every day,” Davis said. “And for Armando, that’s what I have in him. Every day, in practice, shoot around, game, you know he’s going to give his best on both ends of the floor.”
“He’s a fantastic player. One of the best players in Carolina history. I’m just really, really proud of him.”
RJ Davis led all scorers with 26 points, including 14 for 14 from the free throw line. Davis scored 10 points in a 12-0 UNC run midway through the first half.
The Tar Heels took control early in the second half and went on an 8-0 run that included six free throws to extend their lead to 53-44.
NC State never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
DJ Burns and Jarkel Joyner led the Wolfpack with 18 points apiece.
UNC was 36-of-39 from the free-throw line and set a record 30-plus free throw attempts per game (92.3 percent). North Carolina entered the week having attempted more free throws than any other ACC team, and NC State had allowed more free throws than any team in the league.
“I’ve never been in a game where a team took 39 free throws,” said Cates, whose team made 12 of its attempts from the line. “That means we have to be a little more aggressive.”