North Carolina fell just short in tonight’s national championship game against Kansas, but center Armando Bacot was a warrior in defeat.
Bacot entered the game with a balky right ankle, which he twisted late in Saturday night’s Final Four win over Duke. Despite the injury, he was able to produce yet another double-double, registering 15 points and 15 rebounds in a 72-69 loss.
However, the night did not end without a brutal moment for the junior big man. With less than a minute to play and his team trailing by one, Bacot got the ball down low and tried to score on KU’s David McCormack.
When he went to plant his feet and go up though, Bacot rolled his right ankle again, sending him crashing to the floor in a heap. He would have to come out of the game, and McCormack scored on the ensuing possession to put the Jayhawks up by three.
It was a heartbreaking finish for Bacot, and the college basketball world couldn’t help but feel for him.
Oh man. What an awful, awful time for Bacot’s ankle to give out. Had really been a non-issue all game.
— Brian Rauf (@brauf33) April 5, 2022
Unbelievable. Bacot rolled that ankle on the drive. Just brutal.
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) April 5, 2022
Bacot hobbling back to the bench. He slipped and appeared to aggravate his ankle. It’s the same ankle he hurt on Saturday. Puff Johnson returns.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) April 5, 2022
Hate to see that happen to Bacot. Obviously his post defense was missed on what could be the clinching bucket.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 5, 2022
That’s the same ankle for Bacot too. God dammit.
— Hunter (@HunterHodies) April 5, 2022
Gonna keep thinking about that Bacot ankle roll. Was right there to take the lead, then he rolls the ankle and the game all but ends with that. Brutal.
Bacot’s toughness was incredible. Feel awful for him.
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) April 5, 2022
— Tar Heels Wire (@tarheelswire) April 5, 2022
After reaggravating his ailing ankle, Bacot could be seen crying on the UNC bench. Tonight proved to be a bitter ending for the Heels, who made a remarkable run to the national title game as a No. 8 seed.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that North Carolina was up 15 points at halftime and fell apart early in the second half and it makes the defeat sting even more.
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