PITTSBURGH (AP) Armando Bacot spent the last three seasons watching North Carolina let winnable games against Pittsburgh slip away.

The longtime Tar Heels center took it personally. So, apparently, did his team.

Bacot scored 16 points to become the seventh player in program history to reach 2,000 in his career, RJ Davis added 15 and No. 8 North Carolina bullied its way past Pittsburgh 70-57 on Tuesday night.

The Tar Heels (10-3, 2-0 ACC) used Davis' shot-making and the inside presence of Bacot and Harrison Ingram to outmuscle the Panthers (9-5, 0-3). North Carolina outrebounded Pitt 51-41 and had a 15-1 advantage in second-chance points to beat the Panthers for just the second time in their last seven meetings.

The Tar Heels have won three straight since competitive back-to-back losses to Connecticut and Kentucky, and they showed against Pitt they can play with a rugged edge they may have lacked a few weeks ago.

“We're trying to take every game serious and not take anything for granted,” Bacot said. “That's what we're trying to do this year, take it game by game and not look forward.”

Bub Carrington led the Panthers with 20 points and Jaland Lowe added 10, but senior forward Blake Hinson was held to 11 points - eight below his average - on 4-of-16 shooting as Pitt lost its second straight.

While the Panthers did a decent job of slowing down the Tar Heels while holding them to a season-low point total, Pitt didn't make enough shots and was pushed around in the lane at times by a decidedly wider and more experienced North Carolina frontcourt.

“I thought we were tough,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “I thought we competed. The game was very physical. When we’re moving off the ball and cutting, we have to be able to fight through it. ... We have to adjust.”

Davis gave the Tar Heels the lead for good with a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and North Carolina simply wore down the Panthers over the final 20 minutes. There was no big run, just a steady smothering of Pitt on defense and enough shot-making to win comfortably in a series that's been defined by tight finishes of late.

Not this time. The Panthers could muster little offense outside of Carrington and Lowe in the second half as Hinson misfired and twin centers Guillermo and Jorge Diaz Graham had trouble defensively against the stronger Tar Heels.

Bacot effectively ended things with a putback dunk with 3:41 to play and added a pair of free throws shortly thereafter to reach 2,000 points. He now sits at 2,003, four behind Charlie Scott for sixth on the school's career list.

While Bacot called it a “huge accomplishment," he added he has far bigger things on his mind and he isn't keeping tabs on his rise up the ranks.

“I'm not counting too much,” Bacot said. “The only thing I'm (aiming for) is a championship. I'll count the championships and the awards, but the stats I won't keep track of.”


North Carolina: The Tar Heels have the firepower to outscore a lot of teams. Against Pitt, they showed they can outwork opponents, too. UNC coach Hubert Davis has been on his team of late to get tougher in the paint and the result was a decided advantage on the glass, something that needs to become a trend.

“We’d been outrebounded three straight games. That can’t happen,” he said. "We've been holding them accountable in practice and holding them accountable in the game and one great thing is now they can see the benefit of getting the box out.”

Pitt: The Panthers began the season eager to prove their return to the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2016 was no fluke. It's looking like an uphill climb after an 0-3 start in the ACC.

“We have to get better,” Capel said. “We’ve got to have great attitudes, which we’ve had. We’re going to continue to fight and get this thing turned around.”


North Carolina: Visits No. 16 Clemson on Saturday.

Pitt: Travels to Louisville on Saturday.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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