Chapel Hill, N.C. — UNC’s Armando Bacot set two schools records, including the program’s all-time rebounding mark, and the Tar Heels defeated NC State 80-69 on Saturday in Chapel Hill.
But the game was marred by a frightening fall and injury to NC State star guard Terquavion Smith, who had to be taken from the court on a stretcher after suffering injuries to his neck and elbow after being fouled on a drive in the second half.
Smith was fouled by UNC’s Leaky Black and crashed hard onto the ground. The game was stopped for about 11 minutes as Smith was attended to by medical personnel. He left the court with an apparent cast on his right arm and a towel covering his face.
He was immediately ruled out of the game and taken to the hospital.
“My prayers and thoughts right now are with Terquavion,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said after the game. He said he did not have an update on Smith’s status and was waiting. “Very emotional situation for me right now. Obviously, the game is very important. I thought our guys fought, but my prayers and my thoughts always go to my players in these types of moments.”
UNC coach Hubert Davis opened his post-game press conference by discussing Smith.
“He’s just an unbelievable kid and an unbelievable player, and you never want to see anybody get hurt or injured,” Davis said. “My hope and my prayer is that he’s not hurt and injured. He’s a fantastic player and just wanted to just talk about him and let you you know that i didn’t like seeing that.”
Black was assessed a flagrant two foul and ejected from the game.
“I’ve known Leaky Black so I don’t think he would make a dirty play,” Keatts said.
The play happened with 9:45 remaining in the second half. UNC led 59-49 at the time.
“I don’t think he had bad intentions,” NC State’s Casey Morsell said. “I just think that there’s other ways to try to make plays on the ball. Obviously he went for the head, and T (Smith) took a tough hit. It wasn’t necessary, but I don’t think he had bad intentions.”
Davis called Black “a sweet, kind kid” and said Black asked for Smith’s number so he can reach out to him and make sure he is ok.
Smith was the Wolfpack’s leading scorer entering the game at 19.1 points per game. He had 12 points in 24 minutes before the injury.
Bacot sets records
Bacot, who had 23 points and 18 rebounds, became UNC’s all-time leader in rebounds and in double-doubles in the victory. He surpassed Tyler Hansbrough in rebounds and Billy Cunningham in double-doubles (double figures in points and rebounds in a game).
Hansbrough was in attendance for the game and was on the court with Bacot for a quick post-game ceremony. Bacot needed 17 rebounds to surpass Hansbrough’s school record of 1,219 career rebounds.
Bacot now has 61 double-doubles in 119 career games, topping Cunningham’s mark of 60.
“The greatest feeling as a coach is to know what a player or a team, what they’re bringing to the table everyday,” Davis said. “And for Armando, that’s what I have in him. Every day, in practice, shoot around, game, you know that he’s going to give his best on both ends of the floor.”
“He’s a fantastic player. He’s 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 in the middle of the first half.
The Tar Heels took control of the game early in the second half with an 8-0 run that included six made free throws to push the lead to 53-44.
NC State never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
DJ Burns and Jarkel Joiner led the Wolfpack with 18 points each.
UNC was 36-of-39 from the free-throw line and set a record for free throw percentage in a game with more than 30 attempts (92.3 percent). North Carolina entered the week having attempted more free throws than any other ACC team, and NC State has allowed more free throw attempts than any team in the league.
“I’ve never been involved with a game where a team is taking 39 free throws,” said Keatts, whose team made all 12 of its attempts from the line. “That means we need to get a little bit more aggressive.”