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Off the cuff:

Tar Heels 81, Boston College 63
Heels hold down Hanlan, rip BC by 18

North Carolina held the conference leading scorer to just over 25 percent from the floor as the Tar Heels wore down Boston College and won going away, 81-63, in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. (3/11)

BC's Olivier Hanlan, a first-team All-ACC player, managed to hit just five of 19 shots, including just one of five from beyond the three-point line.

"We wanted to make sure he didn't shoot a great percentage," said UNC coach Roy Williams, who noted the defensive play of JP Tokoto and others on him.

But it looked iffy early for North Carolina, which was playing without a sick Kennedy Meeks, as Meeks' replacement Isaiah Hicks had two quick fouls with the Tar Heels trailing Boston College after the first five minutes.

But the Tar Heels took a lead midway through the first half with a 7-0 run, highlighted by a Justin Jackson three, and never relinquished it.

A 10-2 run over the last three minutes of the opening half, which included a half-court pass from Tokoto to Jackson for a bucket and a converted foul, gave the Heels their largest lead at the half, 43-30.

The lead dwindled from 15 to eight over the first eight minutes of the second half. But both teams had trouble scoring for a while as the Tar Heels went nearly four minutes without a bucket and the Eagles went more than four minutes without a bucket.

"We missed three layups out of four possessions," Coach Williams said," but the guys kept playing."

After BC missed an opportunity to cut the margin to five after missing a three attempt, Carolina went on a 6-0 run to work the margin back up to 14 at 60-46.

It never got closer than nine points the rest of the way as Marcus Paige took over, picking up his seventh, eighth and ninth assist while scoring nine points of his own over the last seven minutes.

With the win, North Carolina advances to play Louisville Thursday at about 2:30 p.m. after the first game of the day. Those two teams split comeback victories during the season.

"They probably should have won the game at our place and we probably shouldh have won at their place," Coach Williams said.

Paige noted that the sting of the loss at Louisville was more recent and, after the way the Tar Heels lost, he said he wants to erase that memory.

Paige, who was hampered during the year with a foot injury, said he has played painfree since the most recent Georgia Tech game. "It feels good to not worry about the foot but instead how I can help the team," said Paige, who was honored before the game with teh Skip Prosser Award, which goes to the ACC's best student-athlete.

Meeks, on the other hand, has not practiced since before the Duke game and Coach Williams doubts he will play.

The Tar Heels, now 22-10, was led by Paige and Brice Johnson's 17 points each while Jackson scored 12. Boston College, led by Aaron Brown's 20 points, ends its season at 13-19.


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