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Off the cuff: Playing late night in a game that started at 11 p.m. Eastern time, the Tar Heels weren't seen by as many people nationally as usual. In fact, because of a technical snafu and a long football game, a lot of people missed the entire first half.

ESPNU was showing a Florida Atlantic-Florida International game that ran long. There was a 35-minute power delay and a slew of injuries and touchdowns, making for a slow game. Announcers put Tar Heel and Long Beach State fans at ease by announcing that ESPNU in those markets would switch away from the football game to the basketball game in time for the tip off.

Unfortunately, those with DirecTV did not get the switch, only Time Warner Cable customers did. That means that not only did most of the country miss the entire first half of the game but anyone in North Carolina with satellite service rather than cable also missed the first half.

Tech savvy people with a good enough Internet connection could watch the first half on the computer on ESPN3. Of course anyone recording the game off TV for viewing later or posterity was out of luck, unless they had cable.

The announcers did not clarify that you had to have cable to see the entire game. In fact, there seems to have been a disconnect between ESPN and satellite officials. You'd think they'd have it worked out before the season and, if not, they'd have a hotline contact to fix such things immediately.

As for the game itself, the Tar Heels were aggressive from the start but cold. In the second half, when they got hot shooting, they also did a better job defensively. The Tar Heels hit seven of 13 from three-point land in the second half after hitting just three of 14 in the first half.

A lot of players are seeing action early in the season and getting chances to make substantial contributions. But as the season goes on, look for the Heels to settle on about eight guys that play most all the time.

Freshman Brice Johnson, with 10 points in this game, is making a case for more playing time despite his thin frame. Desmond Hubert, who started the game, only played 11 minutes compared to beefier Joel James' 22 minutes and Johnson's 13 minutes.


Tar Heels 78, Long Beach State 63
UNC gets hot from three, whips LBS

North Carolina, cold in the first half, got hot in the second half to win going away at Long Beach State 78-63. (11/16)

The Tar Heels, despite shooting only 30 percent in the first half, managed a 33-32 halftime advantage. But it was a three-point barrage over five minutes in the second half that opened it up.

Up just 42-41 five minutes into the second half, the Tar Heels drained six three-point shots over the next five minutes to open it up.

Reggie Bullock popped in back-to-back threes before James Michael McAdoo got an old-fashioned three-point play. Then Bullock, Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston (twice) hit four threes. When the barrage was over, the Heels were up 62-48 with just under 11 points left in the game.

The lead got as high as 66-50 and as close as 10 at 70-60. Then Hairston stopped Long Beach State’s 10-4 run with a three with 4:30 to go. Marcus Paige drove to the hoop late in the game to give the Heels their biggest lead of the game at 78-61.

“We stumbled around in the first half,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “In the second half we finally started making some shots.”

The Heels were seven of 13 from beyond the arc in the second half. “We were fortunate that a bunch of shots when in for us in the second half,” Williams said.

Still, it was the inside play of McAdoo over the long haul that led the way for the Tar Heels with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Paige added 15 points while Hairston dropped in 14. Brice Johnson was the fourth Heel in double figures with 10 points.

Carolina shot only 40 percent from the floor for the game compared to 37 percent for Long Beach State. The Tar Heels escalated their defensive effort in the second half and wound up outrebounding Long Beach State 45-38.

The Tar Heels, 3-0, start the Maui Invitational Monday night against Mississippi State.


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