North Carolina found a way to come back and defeat Virginia Tech on Saturday in overtime. They have now won 5 of their last 6 games, all in conference play. Carolina defeated the Hokies 72-60.
It was the second game in a row where North Carolina overcame some adversity only to find their way into the win column. Earlier in the week against Boston College, they overcame an injury to P.J. Hairston (who did not play against Virginia Tech). On Saturday, they overcame cold shooting which included a 5-24 shooting performance from three point territory.
North Carolina shot only 37.5 percent from the field on the game and were out rebounded for much of the game before taking the advantage for the game 41-31, including 17 offensive rebounds.
The Hokies jumped out to a fast start taking an early 12-0 lead before the Tar Heels finally scratched the scoring column. Carolina trailed in the game until the 9:29 mark of the second half. The game went back and forth from there ending up in overtime.
It was freshman, Marcus Paige who took over in overtime scoring 8 in the extra session. Paige finished with 19 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds on the day. "In the overtime, he was the most important player on the court for us", Coach Roy Williams stated after the game. James Michael McAdoo came through with a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Reggie Bullock had 11 despite struggling from the floor. McAdoo was the only Tar Heel who shot over 50 percent from the field.
Dexter Strickland did a solid job containing the nations leading scorer holding Erick Green to just 16 points.
With the victory, Carolina moves to 15-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play with Wake Forest coming into Chapel Hill on Tuesday.
The win comes a week after a bad loss to N.C. State, despite a spirited comeback. But since the loss to the pack, Carolina looks to have righted the ship and with victories over Florida State, Maryland and Georgia Tech prior to the State loss, Carolina has put together a nice stretch in conference play.
With games coming up on the road at Miami and Duke, the importance of winning games at home cannot be understated. They will look to continue their win streak against Wake Forest on Tuesday from the Smith Center at 7p.m. The Deacs are 10-11 on the season.
(photo of Marcus Paige courtesy of solecollector.com)