Harrison Barnes: The Finisher
Posted February 24, 2011
It's time for a new nickname for Harrison Barnes. "The Black Falcon" never really stuck, so say hello to "The Finisher."
Barnes does his best work at the last minute, often following up sluggish first halves with sizzling seconds.
The trend continued against NC State at the RBC Center. Barnes was his usual late-arriving self -- but as has been his habit, he arrived in style.
To put it another way, if college basketball were airline travel, Harrison Barnes would fly standby.
After missing all six of his shots in the first half, Barnes erupted for 14 of his 16 points in the second -- including a pair of rim-rattling follow slam dunks and a shot clock-beating three-pointer in the closing minutes of the Tar Heels' 75-63 win over the Wolfpack.
It's the same Jekyll and Hyde act Barnes has been playing for much of the conference season. He struggles early, then hits the important shots down the stretch. And that's what really matters. As puzzling as Barnes' streaky play may be, the good moments tend to come when games are in doubt.
"We always tease Harrison that we wish he could shoot for forty minutes the way he does in the last four," said junior center Tyler Zeller, Barnes' teammate at Carolina.
But all jokes aside -- in this case, literally -- Barnes tends to take things a bit more seriously.
"I'd like to be known as a finisher. That's something I take pride in," Barnes said when asked of his tendency to start slow and finish strong. "You should be able to do it consistently throughout the game."
In many ways, Barnes' play mirrors that of his team. Barnes hit critical shots in late-game situations against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami in January. The Tar Heels trailed in each of those games by double digits. Now they can add NC State to that list - another double-digit comeback fueled by Harrison Barnes
"I'm used to it now," said sophomore forward John Henson when asked about Barnes' second-half shooting. "I think it's going in every time, and it usually does."
That's exactly what you would expect from "The Finisher."