The Norman Transcript

National Sports

December 13, 2013

No. 18 North Carolina holding up on perimeter so far

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina is getting by on the perimeter while its two best outside shooters sit with NCAA eligibility concerns.

The No. 18 Tar Heels (6-2) host No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday with a perimeter rotation that consists primarily of sophomores Marcus Paige and J.P. Tokoto, and freshman Nate Britt.

While the Tar Heels miss leading scorer P.J. Hairston and senior Leslie McDonald, the Paige-Tokoto-Britt trio has been good enough to help UNC upset Louisville and Michigan State in the past month.

“I think we’re just finding what works,” Paige said Thursday. “We understand as a perimeter unit, shooting 3s isn’t a strength of ours so we’re not jacking up 12 3s, 14 3s a game. We understand our strengths are inside and if we play a lot of defense and get out in the passing lanes, then we can be effective.”

It’s not what coach Roy Williams had envisioned before the season, when Hairston returned for his junior season after flirting with the NBA draft. Hairston and McDonald were expected to provide plenty of outside scoring punch, but neither has played while the school works with the NCAA to review their eligibility.

Authorities twice cited Hairston during the offseason while he drove a rental vehicle linked to a felon and party promoter. The school hasn’t specified McDonald’s issue, though it had to send a letter ordering a company making designer mouth guards to stop using McDonald on its web site over the summer.

Williams has juggled his lineup in their absence.

Britt has started at the point while Paige — who by default became the team’s best outside shooter — moved over to play on the wing. It also opened more minutes for Tokoto on the wing.

Each of the three average at least 25 minutes, with junior reserve Luke Davis seeing spot duty in relief.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

  • Wainwright two-hits Nats

    WASHINGTON — Adam Wainwright threw a two-hitter Thursday night for his seventh career shutout, chipped in at the plate with a double and single, and St. Louis benefited from four errors by Washington in the Cardinals’ 8-0 victory....

    April 18, 2014

  • Rangers edge M’s

    ARLINGTON, Texas — When Kevin Kouzmanoff was riding the buses in Double-A two seasons ago, he kept his focus on returning to the majors and providing the kind of production that he is now delivering for the Texas Rangers....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shields strikes out 12 as Royals sweep Astros

    HOUSTON — James Shields struck out 12 in eight innings and the Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-1 win on Thursday night....

    April 18, 2014

  • Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

    MILWAUKEE — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million....

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high for Negro League stadium comeback

    PATERSON, N.J. — The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium. Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro League teams is getting another chance ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Ryu takes early lead in LPGA LOTTE

    KAPOLEI, Hawaii — So Yeon Ryu shot a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to take the lead halfway through a windy first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Japan’s Ayako Uehara was one stroke back....

    April 17, 2014