North Carolina Tar Heels: Kammeon Holsey

UNC at Georgia Tech: What to watch

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
10:00
AM ET
North Carolina has struggled at Georgia Tech in recent years, losing six of its last seven games in Atlanta dating back to 2002 (with the only win coming by a point, in January 2008).

It will be interesting to see whether playing at new McCamish Pavilion -- re-named after the $50 million renovation to the old Alexander Memorial Coliseum -- will have any impact.

The Yellow Jackets (14-10, 4-8 ACC) have won four of seven games after starting their ACC slate 0-5, and the three losses during their current streak came by a combined eight points. The Tar Heels (17-8, 7-5), meanwhile, have become more aggressive of late and are trying to hold on to one of the top four slots in the ACC standings.

A few things to watch during Tuesday's 9 p.m. ET game:

P.J. HAIRSTON

Since being inserted into the starting lineup, the UNC sophomore has averaged 26 points and 7.5 rebounds over his last two games, and he has solidified his place in UNC’s smaller opening five. Asked Monday if matchups dictate the size of the Tar Heels’ rotation or how often they can use a four-guard lineup, UNC coach Roy Williams indicated that how his team is playing trumps that.

“I think that we've done some things these last two games that have helped us, so we're not going to go back to exactly like we were before, because I think during the course of the entire season you always see some things change with your team that will drive you in different directions,’’ Williams said during Monday’s ACC conference call. “So we're constantly looking at different combinations, different lineups.

“We change lineups in practice every three plays, sometimes every two plays in practice. So the combinations that we put out there, we do that a lot. But as you go along during the course of the season, your team tells you some things, and your team shows you some things that are working better than some other things were. So I think it's an evolution throughout the course of the whole season, [and] evolution of your team to try to find the best players and the best combinations."

TECH’S SCORING

The positive of having seven different players lead you in scoring over the last five weeks: Foes have to pay attention to pretty much everyone. The negative, in the case of the Yellow Jackets: No player is averaging double figures in ACC play, and only one, freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt, is averaging double digits (10.8) for the season.

Junior Kammeon Holsey led the Jackets with 18 points off the bench when UNC won at the Smith Center last month, and coach Brian Gregory said his rebuilding squad is playing better since then.

“The freshmen have done a good job of growing up on the court just as players and understanding the urgency that you have to play with every possession in this league,’’ he said. “And we are still at our best when our upperclassmen play well for us.”

FREE THROWS

If this one is tight enough to come down to foul shots -- well, it could be ugly.

This will be a battle of the worst free throw shooting teams in the league, as UNC is connecting on 65 percent and Georgia Tech 63.9. Watch out for the clanks.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina is now above .500 in ACC play (3-2) for the first time this season. Georgia Tech (0-5) is still searching for its first conference win.

A quick look at the Tar Heels’ 79-63 victory at the Smith Center on Wednesday night:

Turning point: The Tar Heels led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets cut their deficit to four in the moments before halftime, thanks to strong rebounding that helped cut down on UNC’s fast-break and second-chance opportunities. But after Tech missed on its opportunity to cut the lead to two, junior Reggie Bullock and freshman J.P. Tokoto scored buckets (both on assists from freshman forward Brice Johnson) to give UNC a 40-32 cushion at the break.

Energetic UNC then opened the second half with a 9-2 run -- including five points from Bullock -- to take its largest lead to that point in the game. The Jackets never really threatened again.

Key player(s): Bullock led the Tar Heels with 17 points, while reserve P.J. Hairston -- just 1-for-8 in his last game -- added 15. Forward James Michael McAdoo chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Kammeon Holsey, a starter last season who has adapted well to his sixth-man role, finished with 18 points for Georgia Tech.

Noteworthy number: Tech outrebounded UNC 50-45, but shot only 36 percent for the game.

Etc.: UNC reserve Leslie McDonald, who had missed three previous games because of a sore right knee, remained dressed in a suit on the bench. The school announced earlier Wednesday that the redshirt junior is suspended for three more games because, coach Roy Williams said, he “did not do what we expect of our student-athletes.”

Next up: Georgia Tech plays Wake Forest at home on Saturday; UNC plays at No. 18 NC State the same day.

Georgia Tech at UNC: What to watch

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
10:00
AM ET
From top to bottom, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said earlier this week, the ACC is probably the best it has been in the 10 seasons he’s been the head coach of the Tar Heels.

“If you take somebody lightly in this league right now, you’re going to lose,’’ he said. “I don’t care who you are or who you are playing.”

Which is why he knows his team (12-5, 2-2 ACC) faces a tough task against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night -- even though the Yellow Jackets have yet to win a conference game.

Although Tech is 0-4 in league play, it played then-No. 20 NC State close for most of the game, took Virginia Tech to overtime and led then-No. 3 Duke at halftime before succumbing. It also boasted a six-game nonconference winning streak before it lost to Miami in its ACC opener.

“Obviously there is a frustration, and as well there should be, but I think our guys understand where we’re at and what we need to do,’’ Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory said. “I think they understand that four or five possessions a game is the difference in wins and losses in this league, and … we have to mature a little bit and understand that that’s how close games are going to be -- so that’s what, one or two possessions a half? And young guys have got to learn that.”

A few things to watch during Wednesday’s 9 p.m. tipoff at the Smith Center:

Tech's freshmen

The Yellow Jackets currently start three rookies. Forward Robert Carter Jr. is Tech’s leading rebounder (6.7 per game) and is averaging 9.9 points; guard/forward Marcus Georges-Hunt is the team’s leading scorer at 10.7 points per game; and guard Chris Bolden earned his first start at Duke, where he scored 20 points. He’s averaging 10.8 points and making 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers in ACC play.

“I was pleased with how he performed,” Gregory said of Bolden, “and we need him to continue to do that.”

UNC's veterans

The Tar Heels showed what they could be during the first half of Saturday’s win over Maryland -- aggressive defensively, accurate offensively, cohesive -- and a huge part of that was the play of Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo. Bullock, the starting wing, scored 21 points in the first 20 minutes on 6-for-9 shooting; McAdoo, a forward, was 5-for-7 with 11 points.

In the second half, however, the duo combined to make only 4 of their 15 shots; the Tar Heels need more consistency out of them.

The sixth men

Tech’s Kammeon Holsey started 31 games last season, but has been key coming off the bench this season, averaging 8.7 points and 19 minutes per game.

UNC reserve P.J. Hairston, meanwhile, has been an important spark for the Tar Heels, averaging 11.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. But after scoring a career-high 23 points at Florida State, he was only 1-for-8 against the Terrapins.

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