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Off the cuff: It's an old refrain from me but it's past time that the ACC Network is allowed to air the games that are on ESPN. Viewers missed the first five minutes of the Carolina-Georgia Tech game because the FSU-Virginia Tech game ran long (even though the outcome wasn't in doubt).

It took over 10 minutes for the first game to play its last 56 seconds. ESPN runs scrolls at the bottom of the screen claiming that you can watch the start of the game on the WatchESPN app. But you can't.

The game wasn't available on the WatchESPN smartphone app nor was it available through the WatchESPN app on Roku - at least not until the game was available on TV.

Games should be spaced out to accommodate for the length of games and pre-and-post game comments. Despite the fact that the score was 11-11 by the time ESPN2 started airing the Carolina game, the network rushed away following the Carolina game to start the Missouri-Texas A&M game.

Those who follow the ACC, however, as we do in North Carolina, could give a flip about the Missouri game. Those that do can go to sports bars. ACC games should have pre-game shows and post-game interviews when possible. Two and a half hours should be allotted by networks for game action and interviews.

At one time, ESPN and Raycom (before that CD Chesley and after that ACC Network) both aired the same game and you could decide which one to watch. ESPN always takes precedence now and rules the roost on game times.

With ESPN floundering, it's time for the ACC and its fans to show its muscle and dictate what they want to see, when and for how long.

As for the game, during that first five minutes, Georgia Tech twice held five-point margins before Carolina rallied to tie it at 11 on a Theo Pinson three pointer.

Once Carolina weathered a 10-0 Georgia Tech run and 10 first-half turnovers, the game didn't really seem in doubt. Carolina was too powerful on the boards.

UNC's Kane Ma, a senior just up from the JV squad, scored in the last minute with a push shot in the lane that banked in for two.

Tar Heels 80, Clemson 66
Pinson, Heels keep Yellow Jackets at bay

North Carolina's Theo Pinson recorded his second double-double of his career and helped keep Georgia Tech at bay as the Tar Heels won 80-66 at home. (1/20)

Pinson, who scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, helped Carolina recover from an early five-point deficit with a three pointer from the right corner followed by a driving dunk to put the Heels back up.

After a 10-0 Georgia Tech run, Pinson righted the ship with a fast break layup following a steal and a nifty assist to Sterling Manley who dunked it through to help Carolina to a 35-28 halftime lead.

After the Jackets cut a 15-point Carolina lead to just five midway through the second half, Cam Johnson used a screen to drive in for a layup and Joel Berry scored on a long pass upcourt from Pinson. During that 12-5 stretch, Pinson also tied up a GT defender to give the ball back to Carolina on alternate possessions.

"Theo was really something," said UNC coach Roy Williams. who was otherwise upset with Carolina's 10 first-half turnovers and their mediocre shooting effort (42 percent).

"Hopefully we'll shoot the ball better," he said. "I think we're as good a shooting team as I've ever had."

Pinson said every game isn't going to be pretty. "But we have to find ways to win games," he said. Pinson said that since the losses at Florida State and Virginia, he has committed himself to being in attack mode all the time.

Carolina certainly attacked the rim and that proved the difference as the Heels outrebounded the Jackets 46-25 and scored 26 second-chance points.

A 15-7 run early in the second half, highlighted by six Luke Maye points including four off offensive rebounds, pushed the Carolina lead to a game-high 15 points at 52-37.

Despite three triples by GT's Jose Alvarado, Carolina was able to stay up by hitting free throws down the stretch. UNC was 19 of 24 from the line compared to just three of six for the Yellow Jackets.

Alvarado drew the ire of the crowd and helped stymie a Georgia Tech run when he picked up person foul by slamming Berry to the ground and an unsportsmanlike technical by stepping over him unnecessarily. Berry hit three of the subsequent four free throws with 3:20 to go to put the Heels up by 11 and it never got closer.

Maye led the Heels with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Berry, who hit only three of 17 shots, got a slew of free throws to finish with 16 points. Johnson also added 16 points while Pinson was the fourth and final Tar Heel in double figures with 11 points.

Carolina improves to 16-4 overall and 5-2 in the ACC while Georgia Tech falls to 10-9 and 3-3 in the conference.

Box Score

Theo Pinson defends. (UNC Sports Information Photo)

(UNC Sports Information Photo)

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