Originally written on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 10/15/14
In Charlottesville in early January, the Virginia Cavaliers handcuffed the North Carolina Tar Heels and frustrated them with a vintage Tony Bennett-lockdown defense that held UNC to only 19-of-51 from the floor, allowing only five triples, six assists, and 14 turnovers.  In college basketball, venue is a major, however immeasurable percentage, that can and often does determine the outcome of games.  The key is the adjustments made by the coaching staff in putting the appointed team in position to win. Roy Williams needed life in the struggling Tar Heels going into the Duke game on Wednesday, so he inserted sophomore P.J. Hairston to implement a four-guard lineup which gave UNC a huge opportunity to pull out the win in Durham had it not been for basically a 13-of-23 showing at the free throw line. To his credit, Williams changed nothing for Virginia on Saturday.  He knew he need the athleticism of his components to strip away the vaunted methodical Virginia system and implement a consistent and frenetic transition game. The adjustment paid off with a 93-81 win in one of the highest octane games that has been played in the ACC this season.  The reasoning had to do with UNC’s ability to hold Virginia to three offensive rebounds and force 14 turnovers.  With that, North Carolina controlled the defensive glass with 22.  These facets are igniters of a transition package which saw UNC get to the rim and then tie the season-high with 13 three-pointers as they were shooting the triple in rhythm with efficiency. At the center of the attack, Hairston played in a tremendous rhythm for all 29 of his minutes as he tallied a career-high 29 points, going 8-of-14 from the floor and making six treys as UNC broke the game open in the second half. “It’s a lot of fun; you have Reggie (Bullock) running wing, Dexter (Strickland) pushing, Marcus (Paige) pushing, and me running the wing and trailing the middle and Michael running out to,” analyzed Hairston of the Tar Heels’ new attack, “You have four options as a point guard, so its a lot of fun.” Virginia didn’t value the basketball at all after it broke on top 30-21 with 8:11 remaining in the first half.  North Carolina held the Cavaliers scoreless for the next six possessions as they quickly went on a 10-0 run that included one of Hairston’s triples. Once they caught Virginia in such a small time lapse, the Tar Heels never let the Cavaliers get back out to a comfortable lead, though Jontel Evans heaved about a 40-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 40-40 at the half. “Their line up with their four perimeters is hard to match up with and you can see that,” Bennett assessed, “They’re a little smaller and you think ‘maybe we can exploit them inside and they want hurt us on the glass,’ but they have some long angles to rebound from.  They shot a lot of threes and when they’re hitting them and you’re not doing much to stop them, it’s going to be a long night.” As North Carolina had a greater athletic advantage, they pumped up the running to begin the second half with a decisive 8-0 run, scoring on 10 of their first 13 second half possessions. When Hairston nailed triples on back-to-back trips midway through the second half, it was Hairston who had the answer to Virginia sharp-shooter Joe Harris, who was busy putting on a shooting clinic of his own with three treys inside of a 2:26 frame that cut the Tar Heels’ lead to 58-53. “Us playing smaller opens up lanes for drivers and guards to slash and James-Michael to be able to have one-on-one opportunities with another big man,” said Hairston, “With him playing a five, a true center is going to play against him, so he has a quickness advantage against another big man.” Hairston has upped his game of late and deserved the starting opportunity he has received in his last two outings.  He now has a string of seven double-digit games where he has averaged 17.5 ppg. while shooting 52% in the stretch. “We said, ‘they’re gonna shoot the catch.’  They’ re gonna drive the catch, shoot the catch, and if you’re not on them on the catch and bothering their shots…[sic]…If they’re hitting them with a hand in the face, ok, but they got too many where they didn’t have a hand in their face,” Bennett explained. Hairston said he didn’t know if Williams intends to stay with the four-guard look, but he hopes so.  The Greensboro, N.C. native sees the positives in the change for him and his team. “I have a quickness advantage against other fours and sometimes a size advantage and a stronger advantage,” noted Hairston, “Coach wanted to see how it worked.  I hope to start the rest of they way, but you cant really tell.” Williams wouldn’t commit to the four-guard look as the primary offense after the game.  He said he told the four smaller guys that when James Michael-MacAdoo shoots the basketball, they have to fly to the boards for the rebound.  He liked what he saw out of Hairston and Reggie Bullock, who was playing with flu-like symptoms, in that regard. “Two games in a row, P.J. has done a great job on the backboards,” Williams maintained, “We took a bad shot late in the game from the corner and Reggie got an offensive rebound for us then.  I think both those guys got two offensive rebounds a piece.” North Carolina had 13 points off 11 offensive rebounds, albeit against a much less athletic squad. - Ken Cross                 Related Posts:Ken’s High Five: Anatomy of the Tar Heels’…(VIDEO) Harris leads Cavaliers to victory over Tar Heels forUnanswered questions remain for Tar HeelsRegaining Evans on point throws Cavaliers into ACC mix“Havoc” is a way of life – physically and…
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

World Series: Game Two live blog

LaMarr Woodley likely done for season with biceps injury

Report: Some Seahawks think Wilson isn’t 'black enough'

Darrelle Revis sent home for being late, misses practice

Report: Texas to pay scholarship athletes $10K per year

Report: Widespread academic fraud occurred at North Carolina

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NHL postpones Senators/Leafs game after Ottawa shootings

Lions send player home from London after cutting him

Brandon Marshall on Jay Cutler: We're like brothers

NBA Board of Governors votes against NBA draft lottery reform

Jamaal Charles admits he hid concussion symptoms

Kobe Bryant on ESPN article: ‘I just kind of roll with it’

WATCH: Cutest grandma challenges Dwyane Wade to game of one-on-one

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

Porn star: No one parties harder than Sebastian Janikowski

Outrageous college football predictions: Week 9

World Series Game 2 Preview: Giants vs. Royals

Michigan St. fans troll Michigan campus, paint 'M' green

NFL MVP Watch Week 8: Is Manning still the King?

Fan blows $300 buying hot dogs for his section at World Series

Mo’ne Davis' Chevy commercial won't affect amateur status

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas forces OT, stares down Mayweather

10 bold predictions for Week 8 of NFL season

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Porn star: No one parties like Janikowski

World Series: Game Two live blog

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

NFL players who could be traded by the deadline

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.