After working their way back into the top 20 nationally, it looked from the beginning like North Carolina would have all they could handle visiting North Carolina State. For much of the game, it seemed as though the upset was in the cards and that the Tar Heels’ conference streak was more than in jeopardy and would end.
However, as has been the case for much of the second half of the season, the second half of a basketball game belongs to Marcus Paige. Paige single-handedly kept North Carolina in the game during the waning minutes of what seemed to be a sure loss. Instead, the Tar Heels clawed their way out on the back of Paige’s scorching three point shooting. It forced overtime in a game that seemed to be out of reach of much of regulation.
Once again, the overtime saw the Tar Heels down as many as six points, but Paige was not to be denied. His leadership continued to flourish and he led the way to another conference victory, this time on the road in a postseason-like atmosphere.
Paige posted 35 points and was the only Tar Heel to make a shot from outside the arc. He has quickly become the spotlight star for North Carolina during their resurgence and has proven to be unrattled when something spectacular is needed in the clutch.
The great escape for North Carolina keeps them nipping at the heels of Duke in the standings, with just a few games left in the regular season ACC schedule. The Tar Heels will now prepare for another road matchup Saturday with last place Virginia Tech.