Home Page banner.cb3cartoon.
Check back prior to the 2008 season for a preview and a program outlook.
Click here for Carolina baseball analysis.

Off the cuff:

Tar Heels 87, Arkansas 78
UNC advances as Paige explodes late

North Carolina's Marcus Paige exploded for 20 second-half points to lead the Tar Heels to a wild, hard-fought, up-and-down 87-78 victory over Arkansas to advance to the Sweet 16 for an NCAA-record 32nd time. (3/21)

Paige scored just two points and missed seven of eight shots in the first half. "I was rushing it a little bit," Paige said. "In the second half, I wanted to let the game to come to me... After that, I got into rhythm."

An up-tempo Arkansas team wanted to run with North Carolina and force Tar Heel turnovers but just the opposite happened as a recurring Carolina zone slowed the Razorbacks and the Heels took advantage of a season-high 21 turnovers. UNC scored 24 points off those miscues.

The Tar Heels led 39-36 at halftime after Nate Britt, who has played sparingly lately, came off the bench to score 10 points despite the Heels only shooting 40 percent.

In the second half, Paige and Justin Jackson, who scored 14 of his 16 points, helped the Heels increase their field goal shooting to 55 percent.

But the game went back and forth during the first six minutes of the second half. With Arkansas ahead 52-51, Paige, who had two points at the time, took over.

First, Paige swished a three from the left wing to give Carolina the lead at 54-52. JP Tokoto followed an Arkansas turnover with a falling down three-point play in the lane to give the Heels a 57-52 lead.

But Arkansas went on a 7-1 run over just a minute and a half to grab back the lead at 59-58. Again it was Paige that put Carolina back on top win a pair of free throws followed by a coast-to-coast fastbreak bucket and free throw to put UNC up 63-59 midway through the second half.

After taking a break on the bench, Paige came in and sank another three from the left corner and a minute later drained a three from the top of the key to give Carolina its first double-digit lead of the game at 71-61 with 7:18 to go.

The lead got as high as 12 after that and not closer than seven the rest of the way. Despite losing Meeks to a sprained knee late and despite losing Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks to fouls, the Tar Heels wrapped it up with seven free throws in the last minute and a half. Carolina hit 29 of 37 free throws on the night.

Due to foul trouble and the ability to get the ball up the court against Razorback pressure, Carolina often went small with three guards throughout the game. The Tar Heels didn't have much trouble breaking the Arkansas press and were able to get some fastbreak layups.

Defensively, the Tar Heels held Arkansas to just 37 percent from the floor.

Paige also had five steals to go along with his team-high 22 points. In addition to Jackson's 16 points, Tokoto added 13 and Britt finished with those 10 first-half points.

Carolina's big men had trouble as Meeks sat out much of the second half in foul trouble on his way to nine points and four turnovers and Johnson was just two of eight from the floor but he hauled in 13 rebounds before he fouled out.

Michael Qualls led Arkansas with 27 points and 10 rebounds, the first double-double of his career.

The Tar Heels, 26-11, advance to a Sweet 16 matchup with either Wisconsin or Oregon on Thursday in Los Angeles.


Check out the other game articles.

© 2014 CB3media Cary, NC