TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — North Carolina entered Saturday in desperation mode and earned a hard-fought victory against Florida State. Here's the story..
And the look back
Three things to take away from UNCs victory:
1. This is how the Tar Heels are going to have to win games.
It wasnt always pretty. And it certainly wasnt a dominating performance. But UNC on Saturday won in large part because it played with a sense of urgency and want-to. Thats something this team has struggled with this season. The Tar Heels played well defensively, especially during the final four minutes, and they were aggressive offensively. The Heels at times have been a finesse team under Williams. But UNC grinded today. Itll probably have to do a lot more of it to be successful.
2. Games like this are why some UNC fans believe P.J. Hairston should start.
Hairston was the best player on the court on Saturday, which is saying something given he shared it with teammates Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo, and with Florida States Michael Snaer. He created his own shot both on the perimeter and off of penetration, which led to two one-handed dunks one of which cut the Seminoles lead to one with 3:53 to play. He finished with a career-high 23 points, made four 3-pointers and was the offensive force that UNC has lacked during its more difficult stretches this season.
3. What a game for Jackson Simmons, and what a story, too.
Hows this for a story: A guy who hardly ever plays significant minutes plays a career-high 15 minutes. He scores a career-high eight points, including the go-ahead points with about three minutes to play. He finishes with four rebounds and provides several hustle plays. And he does all of this almost a year to the day after being left on the court with a group of walk-ons during the final seconds of UNCs 33-point loss at Florida State. And, oh yeah, its also his 20th birthday. Thats Simmons.