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Off the cuff: I figured that North Carolina might win by about 25 points. I just thought they'd look a little better doing it. Carolina seemed to be stuck between leads of 12 and 15. Normally that wouldn't seem bad but with the Heels jumping out 24-8 early, they should have put South Carolina away.

The TV announcers seemed to miss the fact that Carolina made only 17 of 30 free throws. The game would have been put away earlier had the Heels just hit their free throws.

While Reggie Bullock provided the outside firepower the last game with 23 points, this time it was freshman P.J. Hairston who did the trick with 19 points off five threes and four of six from the line.

It's good to see that, on a night when Zeller can't get anything to fall and the Heels can't shoot free throws, that someone different provided the offensive spark.

That being said, it's not a good sign that Bullock lights it up one game and disappears the next. He took only two shots in 20 minutes and missed both of them, ending with zero points.

If Bullock or Hairston helps Harrison Barnes with the offensive scoring, especially away from the basket, I suppose everything will be fine. But I think some consistency needs to take place. If Bullock can go out and score one game and disappear the next and if Hairston can go out and score one game and disappear the nexzt, what happens if they both disappear at the same time?

Tar Heels 87, South Carolina 62
UNC trods through a 25-point victory

North Carolina started its game against South Carolina in the Las Vegas Invitational with a solid 24-8 run but then went into a long lull before turning it back on late to win comfortably 87-62. (11/25)

“I was never concerned about the outcome of the game,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “I’m concerned with the way we played.”

The Gamecocks made an astounding 17 first-half turnovers but the Heels did not capitalize on the opportunity and led just 45-32 at the half.

In addition, South Carolina outrebounded North Carolina 24-13 in the first half.
In the second half the Heels did better defensively, and created some fast-break opportunities that, along with timely outside shooting, put the game away.

After the first six minutes of the second half, the Tar Heels led just 53-43. Harrison Barnes popped in a three pointer from the left side to start a 13-5 run over the next five minutes.

During that stretch, guard Kendall Marshall passed to Dexter Strickland for a fast break layup and then scored on a driving layup himself. A Tyler Zeller hook shot in the lane with 9:40 left gave the Heels a 66-48 advantage, the largest of the game at that point.

Over the last five minutes of the game, the Tar Heels went on a 16-5 run highlighted by back-to-back threes from freshman P.J. Hairston, who finished the game with a season and therefore career-high 19 points. All five of his made field goals were threes.

Barnes led the Heels with 21 points while John Henson had 18 points and eight rebounds. Tyler Zeller scored 12 although he scored on only four of 12 field goals.

Marshall dished out 14 assists and picked up six steals.

Coach Williams said the Tar Heels would have to play better against UNLV Saturday night at 10:30 in order to win the Invitational.


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