Before Georgia Tech’s ACC opener against North Carolina on Sunday at McCamish Pavilion, coach Josh Pastner got a close look at Tar Heels guard Leaky Black and did not like what he saw.

“I was like, goodness, gracious,” Pastner said.

From the teams’ meeting last season, Pastner recalled him being not quite as lengthy as the figure who warmed up in front of him.

“Why did I think he was, like, 6-6 or something,” Pastner said. “He’s like 6-8. He’s a jumbo wing. I mean, he is tall.”

Before long, Tech guard Michael Devoe would experience it firsthand. With Black hounding the leading scorer in Division I (at 25 points per game), Devoe was limited to 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting, and his teammates couldn’t compensate in losing 79-62 to the Tar Heels. It was a twist on the same issue raised in the Jackets’ Big Ten/ACC Challenge loss to Wisconsin on Wednesday, when Devoe poured in 33 points on 11-for-20 shooting, but the rest of the team shot 11-for-33 in the 70-66 home loss.

“Teams are going to put their best player (on him),” Pastner said. “They’re going to try to take him out, and it’s going to be a challenge.”

With his long reach, strength and determination, Black stayed close to Devoe, often even making it difficult for him just to get the ball.

“It’s going to be hard to find somebody in the country that defends better than Leaky,” said North Carolina coach Hubert Davis, who earned his first ACC win in his rookie season as coach of the Tar Heels in the footsteps of Roy Williams.

With North Carolina (6-2, 1-0 ACC) playing what Davis called the team’s best defense of the season, the Jackets (5-3, 0-1) were overwhelmed in the second half. After going into halftime tied at 31-31 – Tech dug out of an early 12-4 deficit by making a barrage of 3-pointers to flip the lead 23-14 in its favor – the Jackets were outscored 48-31 in the second half.

Often scoring in transition opportunities created by live-ball turnovers, the Tar Heels made 19 of 29 shots after halftime, including seven of nine from 3-point range. For the game, North Carolina shot 10-for-17 (58.8%) from 3-point range. It was North Carolina’s season high in 3-point percentage, and achieved against a team that typically defends the 3-pointer well. The Jackets hadn’t permitted an opponent that sort of accuracy since Louisville made 60% of its 3-point tries in a February 2018 Tech loss. Tar Heels guard R.J. Davis scored a game-high 23 points, making four of six 3-pointers. Guard Caleb Love added 17 with 3-for-5 shooting from 3-point range.

“Caleb Love and R.J. Davis hit some deep 3′s,” Pastner said.

After a pair of Devoe free throws gave the Jackets a 39-38 lead with 16:08 to play, North Carolina reeled off 12 consecutive points to take the lead at 50-39.

“They got, what, a 10-point lead at that point, and it kind of stuck for the rest of the game,” said Tech forward Khalid Moore, who scored 13 points, his career high in an ACC game.

Tech’s 93.8 KenPom offensive efficiency rating was its lowest of the season. The Jackets were credited with an assist on only eight of their 25 baskets, an indication of the offense’s low function. Pastner aims for the assist/field-goal rate to be 60%.

“The ball wasn’t moving as well,” Pastner said. “Now, we missed some shots, but I thought we got stuck, overdribbled at times. I’ve got to do a better job to help our guys to even be better.”

Tech has two games over the next two weeks – Saturday against LSU at State Farm Arena in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event – and then another neutral-site game vs. USC in Phoenix on Dec. 18.

“We’ll be able to clean some things up over these next two weeks,” Pastner said. “I’m not sitting here telling you we’re going to go and win every single game, but we’ll be better.”