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Adam Gold

A freshman growth spurt

Posted February 23, 2013
Updated February 24, 2013

Coaches love to say that there are no freshman come March. It's a cute cliche, and I'm not sure it always applies, but I know this much; Marcus Paige grew up a ton in four weeks.

On Jan. 26, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, Paige was like a teenager on a date with Kate Upton in Carolina's 91-83 loss to the Wolfpack. He looked terrified, and played worse, scoring just seven points while turning it over three times in 29 nervous minutes. In a season where North Carolina isn't blessed with their usual array of first-round NBA draft talent, the only way the Heels are going to be a factor is if all of their better players are contributing something positive to the cause. UNC pulls away from NC State late in 76-65 win Slideshow: UNC pulls away from NC State late in 76-65 win

Four weeks later, it was a totally different story for the first year player from Marion, Iowa.

Paige scored all 14 of his points in the second half as the Tar Heels picked up their best win of the season, a 76-65 victory over rival NC State that will go a long way towards cementing UNC as an NCAA Tournament team.

Saturday was a lot more than statistics for Paige. While his eight assist, three steal and zero turnover performance screams out for attention, it was as much the timing of his contributions that were as telling as anything you'd find in a box score.

Paige: We're really starting to mature Paige: We're really starting to mature

With the Tar Heels on the ropes a bit after gagging away a 10-point, second half lead, Paige re-entered the game in what amounted to a Carolina blue line change. A careless, mistake-filled 3 1/2 minute stretch had allowed the Pack to run off a 13-2 spurt and suddenly it appeared that NC State had assumed control of the game. But Paige, the only real offensive threat in a make-shift line up on the floor at the time, drilled a left-wing three-pointer putting Carolina back on top by two and the Wolfpack momentum was stalled.

Five and a half minutes later, Paige buried another long-range jumper giving Carolina a 57-55 lead that would never be relinquished. That shot was the start of a stretch in which Paige scored 10 points, made four of five free throws and thoroughly outplayed his much more heralded opponent, Wolfpack point guard Lorenzo Brown. In all, the freshman, who just four weeks ago looked as though he couldn't draw a breath against State, played with poise and confidence and provided 11 points, a steal and an assist in a decisive 27-8 explosion that lifted North Carolina into third place in the ACC standings with four games to play.

Reggie Bullock was excellent for UNC. His 22 points and career best 13 rebounds were critical to the cause for the Tar Heels tonight. P.J. Hairston continues to be a star-in-the-making with a dozen points and a defensive effort on State forward Calvin Leslie that contributed to the pre-season player of the year's six-point, six-turnover debacle. And, James Michael McAdoo held his own against Wolfpack senior bruiser Richard Howell with a 14-point, seven-rebound night.

But, when Roy Williams and his coaching staff review this game, they're going to see that it was largely the timely excellence of Paige, the freshman, that was instrumental in that final 10-minute surge and a major factor between winning and losing.

You can grow up an awful lot in four weeks. Paige is proof of that.

18 Comments

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  • plansguy Feb 25, 2013

    View quoted thread

    And right now, I don't care. Roll on Heels!

  • plansguy Feb 25, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Ditto JG!

  • StunGunn Feb 25, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Only Roy knows the answer to that question, and he doesn't want to share it:)

  • VT1994Hokie Feb 24, 2013

    UNC clicked on all cylinders yesterdy. Paige did a super job.

  • StunGunn Feb 24, 2013

    When Roy had the health scare, he said was so grateful to be okay, and he would enjoy coaching more than ever before. I had my doubts as Roy is Roy, and he seemed very frustrated earlier in the season when his team couldn't run the high octane offense that is the cornerstone of his teams. Roy made adjustments to his coaching and his lineup, and just look at the results! I think this is one of Roy's best coaching jobs ever. I'm glad Roy is healthy, and I'm glad he's at the helm of his alma mater.

  • dookiepukie Feb 24, 2013

    Roy is doing a great job of coaching this year. He basically lost last year's team to the NBA and now he's taking a new group of players and got them improving at the right time of year. GO HEELS!!!

  • tarheelbb1 Feb 24, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Since Maryland is leaving the ACC, I hope they are taking Adam Gold with them.

  • kbradtech Feb 24, 2013

    WHY THE HECK DID IT TAKE 20 SOME GAMES BEFORE OL ROY MADE A CHANGE

  • hi_i_am_wade Feb 24, 2013

    The smaller lineup has better team chemistry. They work well together.

  • ncstateforever Feb 24, 2013

    Tried to edit but it wouldn't let me I know I misspelled a couple of words. criticize, and supposed.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Wednesday
ROC
DUR
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
HOU 4
BAL 1
Final
KAN 1
NYY 5
Final
MIA 1
PIT 5
Final
WAS 2
CHC 3
Final
CWS 9
TOR 10
Final
COL 1
CIN 2
Final
PHI 4
NYM 5
Final
SEA 7
TAM 6
Final
TEX 4
CLE 3
8th
BOS 1
MIN 2
 
Final
SFG 6
MIL 3
Final
ARI 4
STL 6
5th
DET 1
OAK 0
 
6th
SDP 0
ANA 0
 
5th
ATL 0
LOS 6
 
12:10pm Wednesday
TEX
CLE
 
12:35pm Wednesday
COL
CIN
 
12:35pm Wednesday
MIA
PIT
 
12:37pm Wednesday
CWS
TOR
 
1:05pm Wednesday
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Wednesday
BOS
MIN
 
1:10pm Wednesday
PHI
NYM
 
1:10pm Wednesday
SEA
TAM
 
1:40pm Wednesday
SFG
MIL
 
3:35pm Wednesday
DET
OAK
 
4:35pm Wednesday
HOU
BAL
 
8:05pm Wednesday
WAS
CHC
 
8:15pm Wednesday
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Wednesday
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Wednesday
ATL
LOS
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
Final
ATL 88
CLE 118
9:00pm Wednesday
HOU
GSW
 
8:30pm Thursday
CLE
ATL
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
8:30pm Saturday
ATL
CLE
 
Final
NYR 7
TAM 3
8:00pm Wednesday
ANA
CHI
 
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Wednesday
ROC
DUR
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR