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.
Paige finished with a career-high 19 points, and made four 3-pointers. James Michael McAdoo led UNC with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Instrumental in UNC’s comeback was the defensive job it did on Erick Green, the Virginia Tech senior guard who entered Saturday leading the nation in scoring. Green, who came in averaging more than 25 points per game, finished with 16 points. The Heels held him scoreless for the final 16 minutes of regulation.
“It wasn’t very pretty,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “Until the overtime part.