We've all seen it now on multiple occasions. Marcus Paige will play the first half as mostly a non-factor offensive even going scoreless but in the second half becomes a key cog in propelling the Tar Heels to a win. As impressive as it has looked playing out on the court, it looks even more so when you look at the numbers in ACC play.
|Opponent||FGA/FGM Game||FG% Game||3PA/3PM Game||Points Game||FGA/FGM 2nd Half||FG% 2nd Half||3PA/3PM 2nd Half||Points 2nd Half||FGA/FGM 10 Mins||FG% 10 Mins||3PA/3PM 10 mins||Points 10 Mins|
The table above breaks down Paige's shooting for in the whole game, the second half and in the final ten minutes of the second half for UNC's 14 ACC games so far. Even on the surface it is clear most of Paige's work gets done in the second half. The question arises, does Paige score at a higher rate in the second half simply because he is more aggressive or takes more shots? That doesn't appear to be the case.
|% of all points in 2nd half
|% of 2nd half points in final 10 mins||63.6%|
|% of all points in final 10 mins||41.9%|
|% of all shots in 2nd half
|% of 3P shots in 2nd half
|% of all shots in final 10 mins
|% of 3P shots in final 10 mins
|% of 2nd half shots in final 10 mins
|% of 2nd half 3P shots in final 10 mins||55.3%|
Paige takes slightly more shots in the second half than the first with 52% of all field goal attempts coming after halftime. The same is true with three point shots with 54% of his attempts coming in the second half. What's more Paige takes a majority of his second half shots in the final ten minutes of the game, 57% on all attempts and 55% of threes. The final ten minutes of the game also contains roughly 30% of all Paige's attempts in the game.
While Paige takes just above 50% of his shots in the second half, the big difference is he makes them at an impressive rate.
|1st Half FG%||31.7%|
|2nd Half FG%||50.6%|
|1st Half 3P%||20.5%|
|2nd Half 3P%||51.1%|
|Final 10 mins FG%||51.0%|
|Final 10 mins 3P%||53.8%|
To be blunt, Paige struggles in the first half shooting 31.7% on all field goals and 20.5% from three. The second half is a completely different story with the sophomore guard topping 50% on both. In the final ten minutes of the game the numbers are even slightly better than the overall second half shooting. In fourteen ACC games Paige has made a total of eight threes in the first half. During the second half of those games he has hit 24 threes, 14 of those coming in the final ten minutes of those contests.
Paige's second half play is also a huge factor in UNC winning nine straight games. In UNC's four ACC losses Paige shot better than 40% once in the 2nd half and that was at Syracuse. In the other three games he didn't even crack 40% from the floor after halftime. In UNC's nine game winning streak, Paige has been below 40% in the second half just once, versus NC State. During the course of the current nine game winning streak Paige has shot 50% or better in the second half seven times. In six of those Paige was at 60% or better.
Again, none of these numbers are a surprise and in fact totally expected, to a point. While it is evident watching Paige he is simply better in the second half, the fact he is nearly 20% better overall and over 30% better on threes is incredible. Also, hitting 53% from three as games go down the stretch is about as clutch as it gets. To date no one can explain why Paige is so good in the latter half but as Leslie McDonald noted on Saturday, as long as UNC keeps winning, that question can remain unresolved.