Friday, November 29, 2019
By AARON BEARD AP Basketball Writer
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Armando Bacot controlled the paint. Cole Anthony turned in big late-game plays. And along the way, No. 6 North Carolina offered plenty of the toughness that its Hall of Fame coach wanted to see following the team's first loss.
Anthony hit a driving layup and four key free throws in the final 64 seconds to help the Tar Heels hold off No. 11 Oregon 78-74 in Friday's third-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Tar Heels (6-1) were coming off Thursday's defeat to Michigan in which they trailed at one point by 24 points. This time, UNC looked sharp in building a double-digit lead, then Anthony helped them hang on when the Ducks (6-2) got within a point.
"It was probably a double good feeling because we had a 10-point lead and we got it there with our toughness and our attention to detail," UNC coach Roy Williams said, adding: "Then all of a sudden it gets to be a one-possession game, and then I liked our toughness after that again."
Anthony had a baseline drive past Will Richardson with the Tar Heels up 70-69. He then hit four straight free throws to protect the lead in a game that went down to the final seconds. The freshman point guard finished with 19 points despite sitting for a chunk of the second half after picking up his fourth foul.
"I want to win, so whatever that means I've got to do — whether I've got to get a rebound, got to get a steal, whatever was needed I was going to try to do that for the team."
Senior Brandon Robinson followed with clinching free throws with 0.8 seconds left.
Bacot had 23 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high six blocks for UNC, strongly patrolling the paint after struggling against Michigan's size a day earlier in a game that he said left him feeling "like I got my butt whipped."
"Today coming into the game, I knew I just had to make everything simple and just attack the offensive glass and do the moves we work on every day," Bacot said.
Payton Pritchard had 19 points to lead Oregon, which nearly erased a third double-digit tournament deficit in as many days. But this time, Pritchard couldn't connect on a late tying 3 after Anthony's first two free throws in what amounted to the Ducks' last best chance.
"We've just got to get a little tougher," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "I liked our effort. I thought we played as hard as we could. But you've got to be more physical on the boards. We took it weak to the basket a few times. You've got to really take It strong. We've just didn't finish enough plays."