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Off the cuff: Too bad for Carolina fans that this one was not on ESPN because of weather issues. It was one of UNC's best performances of the season, especially in the second half.

Georgia Tech never led but it was just a one-point game at the half.

Marcus Paige had a near perfect second half as he hit all his shots and didn't turn the ball over.

In the first half, Paige was just one of seven from the field and was a non factor.

Out of Carolina's 20 games, UNC coach Roy Williams says Paige has played poorly in one half in 15 of them.

"I can't explain it," Williams said. "If I had the answer I'd sit him during the bad half and play him the good half."

For his part, Paige said he his trying to figure it out. He says he's a laid back guy and perhaps he's not preparing mentally well enough to start the game. It's true that usually the first half is the bad half.

The whole team played better in the second half. Carolina fans must have enjoyed seeing - or at least hearing on the radio - the successful free throw shooting down the stretch.

UNC hit 16 of 20 in the second half, including the final 11 in a row.

The game actually did air visually on ESPN3 on the Internet with the naturally biased Georgia Tech radio announcer handling the play-by-play. Most people, even with fast Internet service, run into some issues - whether picture quality or time synchronization - when watching on the Internet.

Tar Heels 78, UNC-Wilmington 65
Heels overcome adversity to handle GT

In snowbound Atlanta, North Carolina players had to carry their bags six blocks to their hotel, getting in five hours late. Then, in the game, the Tar Heels' star guard had an off first half as two other starters got in foul trouble. But UNC overcame the adversity to pick up a solid ACC win over Georgia Tech 78-65. (1/29)

Carolina actually got out to a 24-15 lead with just five minutes left in the first half but following a second foul on James Michael McAdoo, the Yellow Jackets outscored the Heels 10-2 to draw to one at the half, 25-25.

Early in the second half, within a minute, JP Tokoto picked up his fourth foul and McAdoo picked up both his third and fourth fouls. Tokoto would sit 14 minutes and McAdoo would sit nine minutes.

Guard Marcus Paige, who hit just one of seven shots in the first half, was a perfect six for six in the second to pick up the slack. In addition, he dished out seven assists without a turnover.

It was a solid second half performance all the way around for the Tar Heels as the they shot 67 percent compared to 30 percent in the first half. In addition, Carolina hit just one of three free throws in the first half but turned it around to hit 16 of 20 free throws in the second half.

Down the stretch with Georgia Tech fouling to try to get back in the game, Carolina drained 11 straight free throws - by far their best performance from the stripe this season.

The Tar Heels were obviously more aggressive in the second half yet didn't turn the ball over much (only six turnovers the entire game).

"In the second half, except for the foul trouble, we were pretty doggone good," UNC coach Roy Williams said. He added that his team got better shots in the second half.

A 10-3 run that started early in the second half, highlighted by a Paige three from the corner and a Brice Johnson runner in the lane, put Carolina in control at 45-36 with 12 minutes to go.

The Tar Heels got the lead to double figures for the first time when Paige popped another three from the left corner with 7:12 left.

The lead was comfortable the rest of the game with Carolina coming through from the foul line. The final 13-point margin was the largest of the game.

Paige led the Tar Heels with 19 points (17 in the second half) while McAdoo added 17 and Leslie McDonald 15. Kennedy Meeks didn't reach double figures but he scored nine on a four-for-four performance with 10 rebounds.

The win moves the Heels into the middle of the pack in the ACC as they improved to 3-4 in the ACC and 13-7 overall.



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