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Off the cuff: The Virginia Tech zone bothered Carolina so those five straight threes, three from Will Graves, were very important to change the game around. Had the cold shooting from outside continued, it would have been a matter of time before Viriginia Tech, or more specifically Malcolm Delaney, had come back to beat the Heels.

Injured Tar Heels Marcus Ginyard, Leslie McDonald and, of course, Graves all played. Ginyard, who has missed six games, was rusty but he'll be needed.

The Virginia Tech game, especially the second half, was probably the best the Heels have played since the Michigan State game, which was their best effort of the season. While the zone-busting buckets by Graves were huge, the Heels wouldn't have won had it not been for the play of Larry Drew II who scored 14 points, went two of two from three-point land, four of four from the free throw line and who dished out eight assists.

Drew and Graves both said this game was a confidence builder against a very good team and the Heels are focused now and ready for the next game, which is a tough one Wednesday at Clemson.

Graves said, "All the mistakes we've been making, we can control."

It was a blast from the past when radio announcer Woody Durham, after Coach Roy Williams' post-game news conference, accidently said, "That's Coach Smith" before correcting himself.

Coach Williams certainly doesn't sound like Coach Smith, who would never point out the individual faux pas of his players as he did when he mentioned defensive lapses by Thompson and Henson. While I've gotten used to that, I'll never get used to the way Coach Williams says "we've" always done such and such "whether it be at Kansas" or at Carolina. Coach, to Carolina fans, Kansas isn't "we," Kansas isn't "us."

Tar Heels 78, Virginia Tech 64
Heels dig Graves who buries Va. Tech

North Carolina, coming off a disappointing loss where they were killed from the three-point line, used five straight three pointers to overcome a halftime deficit and roll over Virginia Tech 78-64 in the first conference game for both teams. (1/10)

The Tar Heels had gone 0 for 11 from behind the arc but, led by the second-half shooting of Will Graves, Carolina came back to outscore the Hokies 44-26 in the second half.

Down 38-34, Carolina came out more aggressive in the second half, outscoring Virginia Tech 7-2 to take its first lead since it was 2-0 at 41-40. The Tar Heels led most of the next 10 minutes but only by one to five points before Graves got hot.

Up 57-52, Graves launched a long three that went in for UNC's first triple of the game to make it 60-52 with 7:48 to go and the home crowd went wild. A little more than a minute later, after an Ed Davis block and with the lead back down to five, Graves swished a three from the left corner to get the margin back up to eight at 63-55.

A strong defensive rebound by Graves on one end of the court, led to a three from the left side on the other end by Larry Drew II, who scored all of his 14 points in the second half, to give the Heels their first double-digit lead of the game at 66-55.

With just 4:04 to play, Graves swished another three, this one from the right corner, to make it 69-55 and all but wrap it up. The lead never got less than 10 points as the Heels worked up a 17-point margin at 76-59 before settling for the 14-point victory.

Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, who had a game-high 26 points, scored 20 in the first half. Ed Davis, who had 10 in the first half, finish with 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Carolina. Graves and Deon Thompson, who fouled out with just 20 minutes on the floor, each scored 13.

UNC, which moves to 12-4 overall and 1-0 in the ACC, shot 54 percent compared to just 36 percent for Virginia Tech, which falls to 12-2 and 0-1 in the league.

Carolina travels to Clemson Wednesday night.

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