Yes that was ugly but it was a road win against the #10 defense in the country on a night when Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston had their issues on the offensive end. Picking up the slack was James Michael McAdoo with 22 points and 11 rebounds. McAdoo took full advantage of the slower Yellow Jacket big men and also slipped the screen countless times for easy baskets because Georgia Tech couldn't defend it. Leslie McDonald also had a big night hitting four threes on the way to 15 points.There has been some waiting for McDonald to step up and have a game like this. While the competition wasn't great, getting four threes from McDonald on the road should be enough to get him off the hook at least temporarily.
After a last week, it is not surprising Hairston had to come down some time and did with only 10 points on 4-13 shooting. Bullock weather a scoreless first half to score nine in the second and collect seven rebounds. Neither Marcus Paige or Dexter Strickland shot the ball well. Paige was 0-4 from the floor but went 8-8 from the free throw line. He also had five assists and four steals. Strickland had 7 assists versus 0 turnovers despite a 2-9 shooting night.
While the offense did struggle, UNC was very active on the defensive end. The Heels had 14 steals which fed the fast break. The problem was UNC missed a variety of good shots and came away with far too many empty possessions. That allowed Georgia Tech to hang around until a 12-0 run pushed the lead and the game out of reach. Overall, the small lineup functioned fairly well. Hairston didn't shoot the ball well and seemed to be pressing a little. However, he was sufficient against the bigger Yellow Jacket frontline using his athleticism to make plays, particularly on defense.
UNC is now 8-5 in the ACC and in a three-way tie for third place. The Heels get NC State in Chapel Hill on Saturday for a very intriguing match-up. The Wolfpack had their way with UNC for most of the game in Raleigh before a late rally got the Heels in respectable range. Now that UNC has found itself with the new lineup and this one will be played in the Dean Dome, UNC has a reasonable chance to knock off the Wolfpack. Despite the ugly nature of this game, it was one UNC took comfortably despite a variety of offensive issues. That adds to the aura surrounding this team that they are trending in the right direction.