The North Carolina Tar Heels (17-8, 7-5 ACC) returned home after a two game road trip in desperate need of a win. Playing in Miami and in Durham against top-5 ranked teams and returning home with losses against both of them really put a hurt on their NCAA Tournament resume.
North Carolina for the second consecutive game went with the four guard starting line-up including PJ Hairston. Hairston had yet another career high day and the entire four guard strategy paid dividends as North Carolina had another solid game. Since head coach Roy Williams had decided on starting Hairston, Hairston has out played James Michael McAdoo who has long been considered the leader for the Tar Heels this season. Hairston had twenty-nine points and seven rebounds.
James Michael McAdoo left the game with seconds remaining after taking a shot in the mouth that knocked a tooth loose. Despite walking off bloodied, McAdoo put up nine points and ten rebounds in just thirty minutes of playing time.
However, it was a slow first half for the Tar Heels who let the Virginia Cavaliers (18-7, 8-4 ACC) shoot three pointers without any challenge from the Carolina defense. The Cavaliers shot 57.1 percent from behind the arc Saturday. However in the second half, the momentum from behind the arc changed from Virginia’s favor to North Carolina’s. The Tar Heels shot 46.4 from three point range.
It was another solid game that saw much improvement from freshman point guard Marcus Paige. He had seventeen points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
If North Carolina can just play like they did in the second half for the entire 40 minutes for their remaining games, they’re going to be tough to beat. They will travel to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.
FINAL SCORE: North Carolina 93 – Virginia 81 | Player of the Game: PJ Hairston