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Off the cuff: The Tar Heels needed a confidence builder following a sloppy second half at Clemson and prior to big regular-season ending games at Maryland and vs. Duke.

Carolina's intensity and high-octane offense got into a good rhythm during spurts in both the first half and the second half.

If they could temper some of that wild-open style of play though they would be less likely to give up easy transition baskets - which didn't hurt them against Florida State but might against other teams down the road.

The player rotation has gotten very interesting lately. Only one non-starter played more than nine minutes and that was Leslie McDonald, who really didn't make much of an impact during his 20 minutes on the court.

Two that did make an impact during limited action were Jackson Simmons and Joel James, who probably had one of the day's best highlights during his four minutes of play.

James tracked down a tough pass and, off balance, tried to pass cross court through the lane but the ball was tipped by a defender and it plopped into the basket for two points.

Simmons might not have made the highlight reel but his sprawling on the court for a loose ball and quickly calling timeout energized his teammates. Marcus Paige even brought it up in his post-game comments saying how much it meant to see him hustle and make a heady play.

The halftime was eventful as former coach Bill Guthridge and former point guard and assistant coach Phil Ford were introduced by Roy Williams. Guthridge was honored for being be named an inductee into the NC Sports Hall of Fame while Ford was honored for being named to the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Coach Williams said that when you think of Carolina basketball, you think of Dean Smith but that those two weren't very far behind. A nice tribute ran on the video board and the crowd gave a loud, long, resounding ovation for the two.

Another interesting (and now touching) video that shows during Tar Heel games ends with Dean Smith, recorded within the past year or so, saying, "THIS is Carolina basketball."

It certainly looked like Carolina basketball against Florida State.

Tar Heels 79, Florida State 58
UNC's big three heat it up against FSU

North Carolina seems to be heating up at the right time with the tournament season approaching thanks to the big three of Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston. The three combined for 57 points in a convincing 79-58 win at home against Florida State. (3/3)

The three shot 65 percent from the floor, including 8 of 13 from beyond the three-point line.

Trailing 16-15 after getting out to a quick 7-0 lead, the Tar Heels went on a quick 10-0 run to get some breathing room. McAdoo scored seven point during the run including a steal near midcourt that resulted in a dunk, foul and free throw. The other three points of the run went to Bullock who drilled in a three from the left corner.

Up 25-16, the Tar Heels never looked back as they extended the first-half lead to 21 points at 42-21 late in the half.

Carolina led 46-27 at the half but FSU dwindled the margin to 12 midway through the second half before McAdoo tipped in a miss and Hairston followed with his fourth three of the game to stop the rally.

The lead got as high as 22 points before the Heels settled for a 21-point victory.

"I thought we were good defensively and really good offensively," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "I liked our intensity and I liked the way we were pushing the ball.  Needless to say I like the way we were shooting it."

In the first half when the game was basically settled, Carolina was six of 11 from the three-point line.

While McAdoo led the scoring with 21 points and really took over the game during the first half, Bullock had an outstanding line with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Hairston added 16 points as the only other Tar Heel in double figures.

McAdoo said that once Hairston was inserted into the starting lineup, the team started doing better from the get go. "Getting off to a good start, that’s what it’s all about," McAdoo said. "The loaded offense, the floor is spread, and we have a couple of three-point shooters that when they’re hot, they’re hot. It makes everything so much easier for me.”

Marcus Paige also had a solid game with nine assists while fellow starting guard Dexter Strickland did as well with four assists and no turnovers.

Carolina, tied for third in the ACC and in the hunt for one of four first-round byes for the ACC Tournament, has just two regular season games left - Wednesday at dangerous Maryland and at home Saturday against Duke.


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