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Saturday, March 10, 2012
UNC notes: He's a clutch shooter, too

By Robbi Pickeral

ATLANTA -- To those who still think North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall is a one-dimensional player: Take that.

With the score knotted at 67 in Saturday's ACC tournament semifinal, and teammate Harrison Barnes unable to find much breathing room against NC State, Marshall played the role of game-winner. After Barnes passed the ball back to him, Marshall drove, shouldered into Wolfpack guard Alex Johnson (which had State fans and coach Mark Gottfried screaming “charge!”), and banked in a roughly-8-foot shot with 10.2 seconds left.

Marshall (who set the ACC record for assists in a season on Friday) finished with 12 points and 10 assists, the first time a Tar Heel has ever recorded three consecutive point-assist double-double games.

“The way most people tell it, I’m one-dimensional; all I can do is pass, I can’t defend, I can’t score,’’ Marshall said. “But my job is to go out there and play basketball, and find a way to help my team win. And I felt like I did a pretty good job for the most part today.”

STATE SHOULD BE IN: If UNC coach Roy Williams had a vote, NC State would make the NCAA tournament.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re one of the top 68 teams in the country,’’ said Williams.

The Wolfpack fell to 22-12 with the loss, and entered the tournament on the bubble. But ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had them projected as one of the teams earning an at-large bid as of Saturday afternoon.

WE’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE: Once again, UNC wing Reggie Bullock stymied Scott Wood into a frustrating day. NC State’s second-leading scorer finished with 2 points on 1-for-6 shooting.

In this season's previous meetings between the teams, Bullock helped hold Wood to 4-for-12 and 1-for-5 shooting, respectively.

“Reggie’s done a great job three times this year of really making it tough on him,’’ Marshall said.

ONE MORE POSITION? Senior Justin Watts has played four positions in the past, and played all four in one game Saturday. But he’s never played the "5" spot.

Has the 6-foot-5 wing earned the right to play it for maybe 30 seconds at some point, starting "5" Tyler Zeller was asked?

Zeller laughed. “He could probably do it for 30 seconds; he’s a little undersized for that position, though.”

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