User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

UNC holding up on perimeter so far

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - 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.

Paige is averaging a team-best 18.8 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range, including a career-high 32 points against Louisville. Britt has been in double figures for two straight games, starting with his season-high 13 points in last week's road upset of then-No. 1 Michigan State.

Tokoto, a gifted athlete and leaper, worked through the offseason to improve his shooting range. He had a huge performance at Michigan State, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

''The perimeter guys have done some good things,'' Williams said. ''We need to get J.P. to focus a little bit more on the backboards on the offensive end because he has had some really good moments. I'd like Marcus to keep shooting with a high percentage ... and Nate to not turn it over as much, to have the better assist ratio, make some drives and those kinds of things.''

As for Hairston and McDonald, there's still no timetable on when - or if - the two will return.

''I'm sure that the NCAA would like for it to be over with, too,'' Williams said. ''But there's no update. There's nothing else. We're just staying the course and I'm sure they're trying to do everything they can, too.''


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

News: Challenge Props posted
Pitino mum as questions continue
Louisville looking into hired escorts
Louisville investigating book allegations
Beilein: Irvin likely for start of season
Young Washington ready for challenges
Man sentenced in Toledo sports bribery
NC State's Rowan arrives just in time
Utah unveils $36M basketball facility
Why Buy Picks From
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records Gold Membership
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 927
Chip Chirimbes + 865
Brian Edwards + 764
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Chip Chirimbes 54 %
Scott Pritchard 54 %
Stephen Nover 53 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1337
Brian Edwards + 1195
John Fisher + 994
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 792
Antony Dinero + 700
Andy Iskoe + 654
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The SportsBoss + 612
Joe Williams + 248
Jim Feist + 183
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership