The North Carolina Tar Heels added a huge win to their NCAA Tournament Resume with a 76-65 win over NC State. Reggie Bullock led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds. UNC improves to 19-8 overall and moves ahead of the Wolfpack for third place in the ACC with a 9-5 conference record.
Concerns over how the Heels would handle State’s size inside going with a four guard lineup were averted by the tough play inside by P.J. Hairston, James Michael McAdoo and Bullock. UNC scored 24 points off 19 NC State turnovers and held star C.J. Leslie to just six points, four rebounds with six turnovers.
Marcus Paigewho was clearly overwhelmed in the last match up was brilliant in the second half scoring 14 points with eight assists. UNC withstood a fantastic performance by Richard Howell who pulled down 17 rebounds and scored 13 points.
The Tar Heels held together after leading by as many as ten early in the second half after a NC State run saw them trail by five with under eight minutes to play. UNC put together an 18-2 run to take a 13 point lead with less than four minutes to play to seal the victory.
UNC is now 3-1 since going with the small ball lineup and now looks like a team destined for the NCAA Tournament. We’ll have much more on this game and it’s tournament ramifications later.