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Off the cuff: The Tar Heels certainly played with emotion and heart against the Deacons. Neither team shot well - the defenses had something to do with that. But Carolina kept coming right back after big Wake buckets and that's something we haven't seen much this season.

Makes you wonder if the team just did not want to fall below .500 on the season - that would not be the kind of legacy they'd want to have here in Carolina's 100th year of basketball.

The freshmen did well. In addition to McDonald's career-high 16, Henson scored nine, hauled in 12 rebounds and blocked five shots. But senior Marcus Ginyard had one of his best games of 2010 as he led the Heels in rebounding with 13 while scoring eight and not turning the ball over at all.

Yes, it's disconcerting that your point guard, who is supposed to have the ball the majority of the time on offense, hits only four of 12 free throw attempts. But Drew did sink a pair of big three-pointers in the second half, had eight assists and turned the ball over only three times.

As strange as it seems, if Carolina manages to win out at home against Miami and at Duke, they may not have to win the ACC tournament to get into the NCAA tourney. They probably would have to get to the title game though. That would put them at 20-14 going into the finals. Of course if they beat Duke in Durham, that might be enough to satisfy Tar Heel fans.

Tar Heels 77, Wake Forest 68
UNC finds a way to win one - effort

North Carolina found itself in a similar situation - losing a lead - but this time the Tar Heels fought back to retake and retain a lead en route to a 77-68 victory at Wake Forest. (2/27)

Ahead 36-31 in the second half, things started looking familiar to the Tar Heels. Within 24 seconds, Wake had tied the score at 36-all and when Carolina fell behind 42-41 with 13 minutes to play, Tar Heel fans had to be thinking "here we go again."

But this time, a trio of Carolina freshman not only stemmed the tide, they changed it over the next five minutes to put the Heels up for good. Leslie McDonald drilled a three to put Carolina up 44-42. A minute later John Henson got free for a dunk on an inbounds play and a minute after that McDonald followed his own miss inside to give UNC a 48-43 lead.

Travis Wear sank a baseline jumper, Henson banked one in and then Henson pushed in a follow shot and suddenly the Tar Heels were up by nine at 54-45. The lead swelled to 10 at 57-47 after Will Graves popped in a three with 7:15 left.

The lead got as large as 11 but cold free throw shooting, mostly by UNC's Larry Drew II, and a couple of three-point shots by the Deacons put the margin at just three at 71-68 with 55 seconds left.

But McDonald scored on a fast break bucket just four seconds later and then drew a charge on the other end of the court. The Tar Heels managed to sink four of the next six free throw attempts to salt away the 77-68 win.

McDonald had a career-high 16 points to lead the Tar Heels, now 15-14 overall and 4-10 in the ACC. Graves, who scored 13, and Drew, who netted 10, were the other Tar Heels in double figures. Ari Stewart scored 16, including four of eight from behind the arc, to lead Wake Forest, now 18-8 and 8-6.

There were six ties and 11 lead changes during the game. Each team led by as much as four in the first half and the game went back and forth until that 16-5 Carolina run led by the freshmen.


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