North Carolina returned home against Virginia Tech needed to take home the victory before two consecutive tough road games against Duke and Miami. It took overtime to take down the Hokies and UNC got a much needed victory in conference play, let’s take a look at how it went down.
First half notes: Things looked ugly early when Carolina missed their first five shots and gave up 12 points to Virginia Tech without scoring in the first four minutes of play. Nine minutes into the game UNC had just eight points and four turnovers before going on a 15-2 run. After their offensive spurt Carolina came to life defensively on the perimeter doing a nice job of switching and putting pressure on the ball handler.
UNC had a lot of trouble finishing around the rim missing a couple wide open point blank shots within two feet of the basket. Marcus Paige led the effort in the comeback shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc and leading the Tar Heels in scoring in the first 20 minutes. Despite their comeback efforts and the momentum swing the Heels went into half time down six 32-26. UNC shot just 9-29 in the first half and 3-12 from three with Paige connecting on all of their outside shots. The rebounding battle was tied at 15 and no Tar Heel scored in double figures.
Second half notes: James Michael McAdoo came out aggressive in the second half with two strong finishes, a three point play in transition and a monster put back dunk. Reggie Bullock made his first FG of the game on a driving layup with 15 minutes to go in the contest and hit his first three to tie the game with 13 minutes remaining forcing a Hokie timeout.
UNC took their first lead of the game 46-45 at the nine minute mark behind McAdoo. After committing six first half turnovers the Heels did not commit their first one of the second half until the eight minute mark in the second half going 12 minutes without turning the ball over.
The game continued to go back and forth with each team taking turns with the lead and the game was tied at 55 with 45 seconds remaining in a tense environment. Paige committed a critical turnover after a Roy Williams timeout and VT held the ball for the last shot, Erik Green took a wild shot and missed badly on an outstanding defensive effort by Bullock. At the end of regulation the game was tied at 55.
In OT the Tar Heels shut down the Hokies and were red hot offensively and got a big performance out of Paige who scored seven points and simply ran over VT in the extra period. A great win for the Tar Heels who started this game down 12-0 and went into the half down six.
Key Takeaways: McAdoo was as aggressive and efficient in all facets of his game today as he has been all season long. Missing P.J. Hairston and with Bullock struggling the Heels needed McAdoo in a big way and he came through with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Bullock continues to struggle and show no signs of coming out of it. The Tar Heels showed great mental toughness coming back from behind in this game,
Notable Stats: UNC dominated the offensive glass with 17 offensive rebounds compared to just eight for Virginia Tech. Neither team shot the ball well from three with a combined 9-40. UNC again passed the ball well assisting on 16 of their 24 FGs. The Tar Heels shot 27 free throw attempts much higher than their season average.
Final Score: UNC 72 VT 60; UNC improves to 15-6 overall and 5-3 in the ACC with the win.
Player of the game: James Michael McAdoo led the Tar Heels in scoring and rebounding and looked like the player he is supposed to be. McAdoo was the player of the game in regulation but it was all Marcus Paige in OT with seven points and an assist in the extra period.
Up Next: UNC stays home and faces Wake Forest on Tuesday