UNC's Bullock to replace Strickland out with season-ending injury

Sophomore guard will get starting spot vacated after junior's season-ending injury

acarter@newsobserver.comJanuary 24, 2012 

— With junior guard Dexter Strickland lost for the season with a knee injury, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Monday that sophomore Reggie Bullock is the most likely player to replace him in the starting lineup.

Bullock ascended into a starter's role Sunday during practice and he would remain there, Williams said, "unless something weird happens in practice." Strickland started all 19 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Virginia Tech on Thursday.

He averaged 7.5 points, and Bullock has averaged 8.4. Still, Williams said, Strickland's loss hurts in an array of areas.

"That's a big-time loss for us," said Williams, who noted Strickland's defensive prowess and his ability to backup Kendall Marshall at point guard. He said Strickland had played about six minutes per game in place of Marshall.

Freshman Stilman White will get an opportunity to relieve Marshall at times, Williams said. White averages 4.3 minutes per game. Strickland has been North Carolina's best perimeter defender, but Williams praised Bullock's defense after the victory Thursday against the Hokies.

Marshall plan: Williams said the loss of Strickland is most damaging because the Tar Heels don't have a proven backup to Marshall. Because of that, Marshall's playing time is likely to increase.

He has averaged 31.2 minutes, but with Strickland in foul trouble and later lost because of his injury, Marshall played 37 minutes in the victory at Virginia Tech. Williams joked that he might try a couple of big men at point guard.

"We'll try to see what John Henson or Tyler Zeller look like out there," he said.

In a more serious moment, Williams said finding Marshall time to rest would be a priority. Williams has often allowed Marshall to rest in moments leading into television timeouts, which roughly come every four minutes.

Carter: 919-829-8944

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