GAME NOTES: In the second leg of a three-game homestand, the Virginia Cavaliers entertain the North Carolina Tar Heels in an ACC clash at John Paul Jones Arena.
North Carolina ended a three-game losing streak and avoided its first ever 0-4 start in conference play with an 82-71 win at home over Boston College on Saturday. The Tar Heels are now 11-6 overall, although they have just a single win in four tries on the road. They will face Clemson at home in their next outing.
Virginia was also in action on Saturday, as it hosted Florida State and came away with a 78-66 victory. The Cavaliers, who have won four of their last five games, are 13-5 overall and currently tied for second in the ACC standings with Pittsburgh and Clemson (4-1). They will wrap up their string of home tilts on Saturday against Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels are one of the bullies of the ACC, and that is evident in their history with the Cavaliers. North Carolina has won 125 of the 174 prior meetings, although the teams split the season series a year ago.
Marcus Paige scored 21 points to lead five players in double figures for North Carolina in its win over Boston College. The Tar Heels connected on 52.7 percent of their shots from the floor, while forcing 18 turnovers, which led to 27 points.
Roy Williams' squad has excelled on defense and in rebounding this season, ranking first in the ACC on the boards (40.9 pg), while holding foes to 67.9 ppg and 38.8 percent shooting. Paige (17.2 ppg, 4.2 apg) has the ball in his hands quite often, as he is not only its top scorer, but the team leader in assists as well. Paige has recovered from a rough two-game stretch in which he scored a combined 16 points on 5-of-27 shooting, by netting at least 17 points in the last two contests. James Michael McAdoo (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Brice Johnson (10.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) are also strong scorers, as well being the top performers on the glass.
Turnovers also played a crucial role in Virginia's win over Florida State, as the Cavaliers forced twice as many turnovers (18) as they committed, and outscored the Seminoles 26-9 off of those miscues. Joe Harris paced the victors with a game-high 18 points.
Virginia has been even more impressive than the Tar Heels when it comes to playing well at the defensive end, as the Cavs are holding opponents to just 56.6 ppg and 37.8 percent shooting, ranking fourth and 11th in the nation, respectively. They have not had as much success on offense, netting just 66.5 ppg on 44.2 percent shooting. Harris (11.3 ppg) and Malcolm Brogdon (10.8 ppg) present the only double-digit scoring threats on the roster, although there is a total of six players averaging at least 6.5 ppg. Brogdon finished with 16 points and six assists against Florida State, while Mike Tobey (7.5 ppg) and Justin Anderson (9.7 ppg) chipped in with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The ability the Cavaliers have on defense, especially at home, where they are 8-2 this season and have allowed more than 60 points only once, should be enough to carry them past the Tar Heels.
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