Brady Manek scored eight points in a key 2 1/2-minute stretch of the second half as North Carolina held off visiting Virginia Tech in a 78-68 victory Monday night in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Caleb Love poured in 22 points, RJ Davis posted 15 points and Manek scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half as the Tar Heels began a three-game homestand across six days.
Armando Bacot's 14 points and 19 rebounds proved critical, finishing two boards shy of his career high set on Jan. 8 against Virginia.
Leaky Black scored 10 points for the Tar Heels (13-6, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a two-game skid and had five players with double-figure point totals for the first time this season.
North Carolina played without Dawson Garcia, who was heading home to Minnesota because of a family medical situation, the school announced prior to the game. The Tar Heels were coming off consecutive losses of 20 or more points for the first time in 20 years after dropping road decisions at Miami and Wake Forest last week.
North Carolina, despite shooting 36.5 percent from the field, improved to 10-0 in home games this season. The Hokies have lost in their last eight trips to Chapel Hill.
Keve Aluma's 19 points and Justyn Mutts' 18 points with 10 rebounds paced Virginia Tech (10-9, 2-6). Hunter Cattoor added 13 points and Nahiem Alleyne had 10 points for the Hokies.
North Carolina led 37-33 at halftime before the Hokies took a brief second-half lead.
The Tar Heels built a 54-46 edge, but went more than five minutes without scoring while going 0-for-11 from the field. Virginia Tech closed within 54-52 before Manek's 3-pointer with just over six minutes remaining.
A putback dunk by Manek was the first North Carolina 2-point basket in a 12-minute span. After two Love free throws, another 3 from Manek pushed the score to 65-54.
Bacot fouled out with 2:29 to play.
It marked the first regular-season game between the teams in more than two years. Last season's scheduled game was cancelled. This was a makeup game from Dec. 29 because of COVID-19 issues in the Virginia Tech program.
There will be a rematch next month in Blacksburg, Va.
--Field Level Media