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UNC 72, Virginia Tech 60: The look back

North Carolina on Saturday did a good job defending Virginia Tech guard Erick Green. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — Teams aren’t always going to play well and win. Sometimes they’ll play well and lose. Sometimes they’ll play poorly and find a way to win. So it was, mostly, for North Carolina on Saturday against Virginia Tech.

Despite a start that UNC coach Roy Williams described as “terrible,” the Heels found a way – mostly thanks to Marcus Paige and a dominant performance in overtime.

A belated version of our customary look back …

Paige leads UNC to 72-60 win over Virginia Tech

CHAPEL HILL — Marcus Paige, the North Carolina freshman point guard, hadn’t scored more than eight points in any of the Tar Heels’ previous five games. He scored that many in overtime on Saturday to help lead the Heels to a 72-60 victory against Virginia Tech.

The 12-point margin was hardly indicative of the struggle UNC (15-6, 5-3) faced much of the game. The Hokies (11-10, 2-6) began the game on a 12-0 run, and the Heels trailed by six, 32-26, at halftime. But UNC continued to whittle away Virginia Tech’s lead, and the teams went into overtime tied at 55.

Paige took over from there. He made a long 3-pointer from the left side to give the Heels a four-point lead early in overtime, and then he made a jumper from the right baseline that put UNC ahead by six. The Hokies’ cut the Heels’ lead to five, but never came any closer the rest of the way.

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