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Off the cuff: Looks like Marcus Paige's slump is frustrating him so much that he is passing rather than shooting and he's making other mistakes. "Yeah he's frustrated," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "If I were three of my last 25, I'd be hesitant too."

Paige missed all five of his three point attempts against Virginia Tech and has now gone three straight games with a successful three-point attempt. That's after hitting a three in 41 consecutive games.

Overall, he's now five for his last 35 shot attempts in his last four games. He passed up several shots to get it to teammates. It worked once when he got it to an open Brice Johnson for a layup at the end of the shot clock. But most times, like when he traveled by getting caught in the air with nowhere to pass, it turned out to be a negative.

Nobody is shooting particularly well from outside although Joel Berry hit three key threes.


Tar Heels 75, Virginia Tech 70
Heels rebound to win after blowing lead

Rebounding and forced turnovers allowed North Carolina to eek out a 75-70 win at Virginia Tech after the Tar Heels had blown a 20-point first half lead. (1/24)

The Tar Heels led 36-16 with less than six minutes left in the first half before going cold. The Hokies went on an 18-3 run to cut the halftime margin to five at 39-34 and it stayed close the rest of the way.

A 14-footer by Nate Britt in transition put Carolina up 57-49 midway through the second half but Virginia Tech didn't go away. In fact, on a day that the Tar Heels had trouble shooting from outside, the Hokies rallied to take 61-59 lead after a 6-0 spurt.

Marcus Paige, who seemed gun shy shooting the ball, found Brice Johnson for a bucket to tie and Joel Berry followed it up with a three at the end of the shot clock to put the Heels up 64-61 with 6:52 left.

While the Tar Heels never trailed again, Virginia Tech did tie the game at 68 on free throws by Kerry Blackshear with 2:44 left after Paige missed the front end of a one-and-one and Kennedy Meeks fouled on the rebound.

Johnson tipped an inbounds pass and was fouled with 2:02 left. He end both ends of a one-and-one to give Carolina a 70-68 lead.

A floating Tar Heel zone defense confounded the Hokies and Carolina was able to force a jump ball that gave possession back to the Heels. Berry found Justin Jackson with a backdoor pass with 1:10 left.

Carolina survived a Paige traveling violation and Jackson's fifth foul as the Heels hit three of four free throws down the stretch for the 75-70 win.

UNC's Johnson led the way with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Berry was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 13. The Tar Heels shot only 38 percent and managed just three of 23 from three-point land. Berry had all three threes.

"I'm not displeased with the shot selection," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "But if you are going to shoot the ball, you've got to make some every now and then."

On a positive note, the Tar Heels outrebounded the Hokes 49 to 33 and forced 15 turnovers, 12 of which came in the form of steals. Carolina had 15 more offensive rebounds than Virginia Tech and took 24 more shots.

"Rebounding was the single factor that helped us win the game," Coach Williams said.

Johnson said the Tar Heels remained composed after losing the 20-point lead.

Zach LeDay led the Hokies, now 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, with 17 points.

The Tar Heels, now 17-2 and 7-0 in the ACC, return home for a Saturday matchup with Boston College.


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