Friday, January 14, 2011

North Carolina improves from an ugly win to a not so pretty win

North Carolina improved from an ugly performance against Virginia to merely a "not pretty" game against Virginia Tech as the Heels won 64-61.

After getting down by 16 in the first half, the Tar Heels went on a 9-0 run at the end of the first half to cut the margin to seven.

That stretch may have saved the game for the Heels. The run was highlighted by a pair of bank shots by freshman Kendall Marshall and an alley-oop pass from Marshall to John Henson for a dunk.

Virginia Tech had hit six threes, including five without a miss, but the Hokies did not score over the last six minutes of the half. Despite the Hokies having had a big lead and leading by seven, the game felt even. You just knew it was going to get closer.

Still, it took the Heels more than 10 minutes into the second half before they got the lead. It went back and forth before an 8-0 Carolina run put the Heels up 55-52 with 3:14 to go.

Harrison Barnes had his best stretch of the game with five of those eight points. The other three came on an unlikely triple from Marshall who swished it from out front.

Marshall wasn't the leading scorer but he was the leader and he seems well on his way to displacing starting point guard Larry Drew II. Marshall had nine points and nine assists without a turnover. Plus, he played 24 minutes as compared to 16 for Drew.

For more on the Virginia Tech game, please click here.

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