Cavaliers stumble hard in quarterfinals as UNC's Marcus Paige wields hot hand
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Marcus Paige hit two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, helping No. 19 North Carolina top No. 3 Virginia 71-67 on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Paige also hit a huge shot to beat the clock in the final minute, helping the fifth-seeded Tar Heels (24-10) hold off the tournament's top seed and reigning champion.
Freshman Justin Jackson scored 22 points to lead the Tar Heels, who never trailed and led by as many as 13 points before all-ACC guard Malcolm Brogdon singlehandedly brought the Cavaliers (29-3) back. Brogdon scored 22 of his 25 points after halftime, including a run of eight consecutive shots that pulled Virginia to within one with 1:16 left.
But Paige answered with an up-and-under move against Brogdon in the lane to beat the shot clock with 41.6 seconds left and push the margin to 65-62.
The Tar Heels shot 55 percent against Virginia's tough defense, controlled the boards and played solid defense against the Cavaliers, who have lost two of three heading into the NCAA tournament. It was UNC's second victory in two days against a ranked team.