UNCC Armando Bacot, before injuring ankle again, makes NCAA Championship history in final against Kansas

USATSI

Armando Bacot’s ankle injury was a serious concern to enter North Carolina on Monday night National Championship game against Kansas, and he ended up heading in the last minute of a 72-69 loss when he landed on her hard again. But the Tar Heels center scored the legendary first half before that.

Despite the obvious limitations, Bacot had 12 points and 10 boards in that first inning alone as UNC led 40-25 in the break. It also got both KS center rookies David McCormack and backer Mitch Lightfoot into trouble.

In the process, he became the first player to score six doubles in the same NCAA tournament. He reached 31 doubles for the season, and is tied with David Robinson for a one-season college basketball record.

Bakout finished the match with 15 points and 15 rebounds, but an injury in the last minute caused him to miss the end of the match. He lost a foot 49 seconds left and Kansas was leading 70-69. The Jayhawks showed sportsmanship and did not take advantage of the 5v4 opportunity, allowing Bacot to walk off the field before resetting and completing the win.

Baku first injured his ankle in the UNC’s 81-77 victory over Duke in the National Semifinals on Saturday. Ahead of Monday’s game for the title, he was seen going through his own specialized warm-up instead of completing his usual pre-match warm-up routine with his teammates. He seemed to be walking very cautiously while trying to get out of his place.

But once the game started and Bacot was a loser, he helped Tar Heels dominate in the toughness-related categories. In the first inning alone, Tar Heels built an 18-2 advantage on second-chance points. His play was praised by coach Hubert Davis during the first half of the in-game interview.

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“He’s doing an amazing job,” Davis said. “I’m very proud of him, 50% or 2%, he’s down to earth good news for Carolina Basketball.”

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