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Cold-shooting Green, Hokies fall to Heels in overtime

BY NATHAN WARTERS

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Virginia Tech didn’t need Erick Green to be spectacular. An average game by the senior guard would have been enough.

But Green had one of his worst outings of the season in a 72–60 overtime loss at North Carolina on Saturday afternoon.

Green, who entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer, had only 16 points and went almost 20 minutes in the second half and overtime without scoring.

“I went to the hole. I had some good looks. It just didn’t fall tonight. That’s all,” Green said.

Remarkably, Virginia Tech (11–10, 2–6) had a chance to win at the end of regulation. The score was tied 55–55 and Green had a good look at the basket, but he airmailed a jumper with four seconds remaining.

Green said 6-foot-7 Tar Heels swingman Reggie Bullock got a finger on the ball to alter its trajectory.

“I got the space I wanted but Reggie is [6–7] and he got a nice little finger on it, enough to take the air off it and it fell short,” Green said. “It was a nice little contest he got.”

UNC (15–6, 5–3) out-scored Tech 17–5 in overtime to win for the fifth time in its last six games. The Hokies, meanwhile, have lost four straight.

Tech led at halftime in each of its last two losses. It took a 12–0 lead early against the Tar Heels and led for the first 26:45 before Bullock knotted the score at 42 with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.

UNC’s first lead came on a putback by Brice Johnson with 9:30 remaining in regulation.

Tar Heels forward James Michael McAdoo led all players with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double.

Freshman point guard Marcus Paige made four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 19 points, including eight in overtime.

“In overtime, he was the most important player on the court for us,” Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams said.

Green said his struggles had more to do with not being as aggressive as he needed to be, but North Carolina threw a lot of different defenders at him, from Dexter Strickland to Leslie McDonald, to get him off his game.

Green went 7 for 21 from the field and missed nine straight shot attempts in the second half and overtime before making a driving layup with 1:29 remaining in overtime. At that point, the Tar Heels were ahead 65–60.

“It’s extremely frustrating to be so close, knowing you’re just a couple of plays away from getting that win,” said Hokies forward Jarell Eddie, who had 15 points. “It’s just really frustrating.”

The biggest disappointment of the game for Green was his lack of free throws. He failed to go to the line for the first time all season.

“That’s mindboggling, but again, he’s got to continue to attack,” Tech coach James Johnson said. “In transition, I thought he had some opportunities to attack but we pulled it out. We could have attacked in transition a little bit more.”

VIRGINIA TECH (11-10)

Raines 6-11 0-0 12, Eddie 6-15 1-1 15, Barksdale 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 3-12 4-5 10, Green 7-21 0-0 16, Wood 1-1 0-0 2, Rankin 1-2 0-0 2, Van Zegeren 0-0 3-4 3, Johnston 0-0 0-0 0, Beyer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-62 8-10 60.

NORTH CAROLINA (15-6)

Bullock 3-13 4-4 11, McAdoo 8-12 6-9 22, Hubert 1-2 0-0 2, Strickland 2-7 1-3 5, Paige 6-14 3-4 19, McDonald 1-7 4-4 6, Johnson 2-5 1-1 5, James 0-1 0-0 0, Tokoto 0-1 0-0 0, Simmons 1-2 0-2 2. Totals 24-64 19-27 72.

Halftime—Virginia Tech 32-26. End Of Regulation–Tied 55. 3-Point Goals–Virginia Tech 4-13 (Green 2-4, Eddie 2-7, Brown 0-2), North Carolina 5-24 (Paige 4-10, Bullock 1-8, Tokoto 0-1, McDonald 0-5). Fouled Out–Barksdale, Raines. Rebounds–Virginia Tech 34 (Green, Raines 6), North Carolina 47 (McAdoo 10). Assists–Virginia Tech 10 (Green 4), North Carolina 16 (Bullock, Paige 5). Total Fouls–Virginia Tech 20, North Carolina 14. A–NA.

Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442

nwarters@freelancestar.com

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