North Carolina Tar Heels Get Backs Off the Wall with Domination of Georgia Tech

By Jeremy Roth
NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Georgia Tech
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The wall will soon be lonely, because the North Carolina Tar Heels‘ backs will no longer be on it. Last night they defeated Georgia Tech 75-65 to move to 3-4 in the ACC, and it was the team’s second straight conference victory. The young Tar Heels showed a great amount of maturity after a road trip into Georgia that was everything but smooth, and they shook off any exhaustion caused by their numerous amount of delays in order to come out victorious. On twitter, Marcus Paige said, “Good road win. Been a crazy trip but we got what we came for and we’re getting better”. They are rolling right now, and if they keep this up then the month of March is looking bright for them.

Paige is back to playing at his expected star caliber, and he led the Tar Heels with 19 points in the game. He was hot from three-point range, shooting 3-for-5, and he also led the team in assists with seven. As a team the Tar Heels assisted on 20 of their 28 field goals, further proving that they are one of the most balanced teams in the ACC and they can move the ball around the court better than most of the teams in the country. James Michael McAdoo was second on the team in scoring with 17 points, and he picked up where he left off from the Clemson game.  Leslie McDonald drained two threes in the game, and despite having shooting stats that were well below his normal average, he finished with a solid 15 points. This was McDonald’s fourth straight game scoring in double-digits. Once again, Kennedy Meeks received the start at the forward position alongside McAdoo, and he led the team in rebounding with 10. He has been a dominant force throughout ACC play thus far, and if he continues this surge then the Tar Heels’ success will only continue.

As for the defensive aspect of the Tar Heels’ game, they held Georgia Tech’s leading scorer Trae Golden to 21 meaningless points, and I say meaningless because it was not nearly enough to make the game close.  On defense, they outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 32-27 and 45-33 in total throughout the game. Even though the Tar Heels seem to get outrebounded in every game, they are actually 16th in the nation in the category with 40.8 per game. The team also committed just six turnovers, a season-low. Their previous low was against Texas with eight, and they ended up losing that game as a result of poor free-throw shooting. In the Georgia Tech game, the Tar Heels shot 73.9 percent from the charity stripe which is a drastic improvement.

If the Tar Heels can pull off another win against bitter in-state rival North Carolina State in their next game on Saturday then they will be an even 4-4 in the ACC, and their hopes of being relevant in March will be much closer to becoming a reality. It took a few games, but it finally seems as if the Tar Heels are back on track in the conference. If they keep up their momentum there’s no reason they can’t beat every single team left on their schedule.  It certainly will not be easy, but it’s totally possible.  For now things are looking bright for the young Tar Heels team, and with another win on Saturday their future will look very bright as well.

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