North Carolina defeated Boston College Eagles 82-70 and improved their record to 14-6, 4-3 in the ACC. Let’s take a look at how it went down.
First half notes: UNC started ice cold shooting just 1-7 and scored just two points in the first four minutes. P.J. Hairston quickly brought the team back leading an 14-4 run with four three point field goals furthering the argument that he needs to be on the floor more. Five of the teams first nine FGs were from down town.
A scary moment happened when Dexter Strickland jumped into Hairston with Boston College attacking the basket left Hairston laying on the floor, when he got up he had to be helped by two teammates and Hairston stumbled around obviously dazed from his head hitting the floor, teams were sent to their bench and medical personnel came in. The situation became tense and even Hairstons Mom came out on the floor, eventually a stretcher took him off the court.
James Michael McAdoo was flat out bad in the first half with seven points on 3-10 shooting and 1-3 from the line while having three shots blocked. McAdoo failed to play with aggression around the basket and when Hairston went out and Bullock needed a rest McAdoo didn’t step up as the offensive leader with an offensively limited lineup around him.
UNC set an ACC record with the most points in the first half in a conference game so far this year putting up 48 points on BC. Hairston was the only scorer in double digits with 14 points in a well balanced attack with eight players scoring; all with at least three points. UNC assisted on 12 of their 18 first half field goals. Both teams shot well in the first period with the Heels at a 52.9% clip and BC shooting 48% from the field. Score at the half UNC 48 BC 33
Second half notes: Carolina started very slow offensively in the second half scoring just two points in the first four minutes of play allowing the Eagles to cut the lead to 11. UNC showed a lot of resiliency early by hustling hard on both ends and quickly getting the lead back to 18.
Hairston returned to the bench with 11 minutes left in the game, a very relieving sign for anyone who watched him stumble I thought he would be headed to the hospital. He was later escorted back to the locker room, the early word on Hairston is a concussion and potential whiplash or some other type of neck injury. Details of the situation are not yet clear and as of this publishing it was not yet known if he would travel back to Chapel Hill with the rest of the team.
In a back and forth second half the Eagles went on another run and once again cut it to 11. The Tar Heels struggled to score and get open shots for their shooters with Hairston out of the lineup.
Reggie Bullock went down hard and play had to be stopped but he was able to get to his feet quickly. Bullock did not assert himself offensively for the second straight game and attempted just nine shots through the first 37 minutes of play, Reggie needs to be more assertive and demand the ball in the half court. McAdoo on the other hand wasn’t hitting much and continuously had his shot blocked but put up a ton of shots with 20 FG attempts.
After scoring 48 first half points the Heels managed just 34 in the second half, although they got the win this was not a complete game by any means.
Marcus Paige had a nice game, his numbers weren’t jaw dropping but he did a good job of getting the team in the offense, making the right plays and smart decisions throughout the game. Paige finished with eight points and six assists and just one turnover. Dexter Strickland had a bit of a bounce back game with a 14 points, 5 assists effort.
Lineup Talk: P.J. Hairston entered the game early at the 16:50 mark along with Joel James, Roy Williams went with the lineup everybody is calling for. Roy went with a quick rotation at PG switching Paige and Strickland in and out for one another in short spurts in the first half, perhaps giving a look at what playing Hairston and Reggie Bullock together more with a fresh PG can give the team. When Hairston is healthy again Roy has to give serious consideration to making this his starting lineup.
After being apart of the first substitution patter with Hairston, James played only one minute and sat out the rest of the half and didn’t play at all in the second half, instead Roy went with Jackson Simmons. This is puzzling to me considering the way James has played the last few games.
Noteworthy Stats: UNC shot 48.4% from the field and really hit the three point shot well at 53.8% on 7-13 shooting. UNC assisted on 20 of their 30 FGs and controlled the tempo for most of the game by winning the rebounding battle 33-25. Nine players scored for Carolina who had just three players in double figures tonight.
Key Takeaways: James Michael McAdoo had his shot blocked three times in the first 11 minutes of play and four times in the game. McAdoo needs to go up strong with the basketball around the rim if he wants to be taken seriously as a big time player. Developing a head fake or some semblance of an inside move other than 110 mph at all times is something he severely needs.
The most important takeaway, these are kids, as much as we critique them and get annoyed at them on the court (me especially) I was on twitter and the KIH forums and I was flooded with comments of fans in tears, nobody paid attention to the game, it was all about P.J. Hairston.
Despite missing Hairston this team found a way to win after he carried them in the first half, a definitive sign of maturity.
Up Next: The Tar Heels return home to face Virginia Tech on Saturday at 12:00 PM on the ACCN. Leslie McDonald is expected to return from his three game suspension on Saturday, McDonald has missed the last six games counting tonight due to injury and the suspension.