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Off the cuff: With the ACC schedule starting in earnest in a couple of weeks, Coach Roy Williams doesn't seem much closer to narrowing down his rotation.

Yes, it was an easy victory over McNeese State but 10 players saw 10 minutes or more of playing time. And another player played six minutes. Usually the rotation relies on eight players.

With Brice Johnson scoring 10 points and hauling in seven rebounds against the Cowboys, you have to figure he's got one of those eight spots sewn up.

The others who will play the majority of minutes are starters McAdoo, Strickland, Bullock and Paige. Super subs Hairston and McDonald would be six and seven.

That leaves the eighth spot to Joel James, J.P. Tokoto and Desmond Hubert. The recent increase in playing time for Tokoto and Williams' desire to go with a smaller lineup more often, seems to indicate that James and Hubert may have their minutes reduced once January rolls around.

Of course injuries and matchup can change playing time.


Tar Heels 97, McNeese State 63
UNC lives by the three to kill McNeese

North Carolina combined solid defense with the ability to hit long shots as the Tar Heels head to Christmas break with a 97-63 win over McNeese State. (12/22)

Defensively, the Tar Heels hauled in a season-high 57 rebounds and held the Cowboys to less than 36 percent from the field. Offensively, five Tar Heels scored in double figures and the Heels banged in 13 three-point shots.

Reggie Bullock was the most proficient from deep as he hit five of eight threes including a couple early that helped the Heels to a 27-8 lead. A total of eight first-half threes en route to a 54-23 halftime lead.

The lead stayed around 30 points throughout the second half although a 14-4 UNC run pushed the margin to 38 at one point before the bench players came in at the end.

P.J. Hairston led Carolina with 20 points while Bullock tallied 17. James Michael McAdoo scored 12, Leslie McDonald canned 11 and Brice Johnson finished with 10.

"If you can really shoot, you are supposed to do that every night," said UNC coach Roy Williams, adding that the Heels need more of an inside game to have much-need balance.

He said that you live by the three and die by the three. Of course the Tar Heels lived by it during this game but he said the Heels should live by the free throw line. While Carolina got to the line more this game, the Heels hit only 14 of 22 free throws.

The Tar Heels, now 9-3, play at home against No. 21 UNLV on Saturday, Dec. 29.

"Big time basketball is here now," said Williams, noting that ACC play opens after a tough matchup with the Rebels.


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