ATLANTA (AP) - Due to a historic snow/ice storm Tuesday, it took a while for Marcus Paige and his North Carolina teammates to make it to their Atlanta hotel, and he was slow to arrive for the Tar Heels’ 78-65 win over Georgia Tech as well.
He scored all but two of his 19 points in the second half Wednesday, when the Tar Heels turned a one-point halftime lead into a walk-away win.
The game was played despite Atlanta being hit Tuesday by a storm that grid-locked much of the region through Wednesday.
An ESPN2 telecast was cancelled because of the inability of the production crew to reach the site, and an NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks was postponed in Philips Arena, just over a mile from McCamish Pavilion.
The game was played, though, because ACC policy dictates that the only reason a game should be postponed or cancelled is if the conditions affect the safety of the teams or game officials involved.
The Tar Heels arrived in Atlanta late Tuesday, and although they had to take a mass transit train from the airport to near their hotel, they and three game officials were able to get to McCamish.
UNC led just 26-25 after a first half in which the Heels shot just 31 percent. In the second half, Paige and his teammates shot 67 percent, and doubled their first-half point production on 15 fewer shots.
North Carolina players and coaches arrived at their hotel around 1 a.m. Wednesday or about four hours late.
“It was crazy (traveling to Atlanta),” Paige said.” The plane ride was bumpy … We realize that we were more fortunate than the people that were stuck out on the highways for 20 hours or so.”
Georgia Tech (11-10, 2-6) never really had North Carolina (13-7, 3-4) on the ropes in the first half, but the injury-ravaged hosts were competitive.
Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 17 points for the Yellow Jackets, and center Daniel Miller added 12 with five blocks.
Trae Golden scored just six of his game-high 21 points before intermission, but the Jackets limited UNC to 31 percent shooting (12-for-39) over the first 20 minutes.
Golden scored the Jackets’ final five points and Tech closed with a 10-2 run to pull within a point of the Heels.
“The first half was probably the worst that the combination of Marcus, Leslie (McDonald) and J.P. (Tokoto) have played,” said UNC coach Roy Williams.
Foul trouble looked like it might become an issue for the Tar Heels early in the second half as starting forwards Tokoto and James Michael McAdoo picked up their fourth fouls, with 16:37 and 15:49 left respectively.