North Carolina has stopped their recent bleeding on the shoulders of P.J. Hairston. Head coach Roy Williams’ squad had lost their previous two games coming into the Florida State Seminoles home court on Saturday Jan. 12.
Before this season began this contest would have looked like a good match-up as both teams were in the preseason to 25. Now this is still a fairly even match-up but it’s because neither team has lived up to expectations. Both teams had five losses coming into this game.
Hairston led the way with 23 points and hit four 3-pointers, although he missed two that could have been costly with time winding down and the score close. Hairston went 9-for-14 from the field and gave the Tar Heels that x-factor for victory.
Guard Reggie Bullock also contributed with 8 rebounds, and 5 of them being offensive. Two of those offensive boards were within 20 seconds of each other and ended with a Hairston layup.
James Michael McAdoo, who has been the leader of the team up to this point, had just an average performance for him with 14 points and 8 rebounds.
Sophomore forward Jackson Simmons had a surprise impact off the bench. He had only averaged about 5 minutes a game coming in but logged 15 against the Seminoles where he got 8 points on 3-for-3 shooting, and 4 offensive rebounds.
Florida State played well but Michael Snaer didn’t give them enough to prevail over UNC. Snaer went just 3-for-9 from the field for 9 points, and if they want to win against ACC opponents, he needs to be providing at least 15 points each game. He has the play-making abilities, but need to take charge and play confident consistently.
This game could signify the turn-around point of this “Jekyll and Hyde” like Tar Heel team. Hairston, Bullock, and Leslie McDonald will have to provide efficient shooting from two and three point range for the Tar Heels to see success when conference tournament time rolls around.