Found March 17, 2013 on Fox Sports:
After helping North Carolina turn its season around, P.J. Hairston nearly carried the Tar Heels to an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship. Hairston scored 28 points with six 3-pointers in Sunday's 87-77 loss to No. 9 Miami in the final. That capped a weekend of big performances in his hometown despite a cut on his non-shooting hand that required him to wear a padded bandage for the last two games. ''It felt fine,'' Hairston said. ''Didn't bother me at all. I mean, just the thought of me having stitches in my left hand, it stopped me from kind of trying to reach or trying to do certain things, but I still played through it regardless.'' The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored 21 points with five 3-pointers in Friday's quarterfinal win against Florida State, though he suffered the cut to the webbing between his left middle and ring fingers - a wound that required eight stitches. He returned for Saturday's semifinal against Maryland and finished with 13 points and two more 3s. Hairston finished 9 for 17 from the field and 6 for 13 from 3-point range against the Hurricanes. He was named to the all-tournament team. ''It was like a video game at first,'' senior Dexter Strickland said. ''He was hitting all his shots. He played amazing this whole week.'' For Miami, Shane Larkin scored a career-high 28 points, eight in the final 2 1/2 minutes, to help the Hurricanes pull away. Trey McKinney Jones added a career-high 20 points for the top-seeded Hurricanes (27-6), including the go-ahead 3-pointer from the left corner with 6:27 left that started Miami's final push to secure the program's first ACC tournament title. In a terrific back-and-forth game filled with big shots, the Hurricanes finally slowed the third-seeded Tar Heels (24-10) enough down the stretch to secure what amounted to a road win in front of UNC's home-state crowd. The Tar Heels hit 13 3-pointers, which fell one shy of tying the program's record in the tournament. But it wasn't enough to secure UNC's first ACC title since 2008 nor coach Roy Williams' 700th career victory. Larkin was chosen the tournament's MVP after finishing as the runner-up for league player of the year to Virginia Tech's Erick Green. But Larkin was at his best when the Hurricanes needed him in a tight game to complete their surprise run from being picked fifth in the preseason poll to ACC champion. Miami shot 51 percent and made 12 of 22 3-pointers, six coming from McKinney Jones and four from Larkin. Miami used its size advantage against North Carolina's four-guard lineup to take a 36-28 rebounding advantage that led to 13 second-chance points. The Hurricanes certainly needed every bit of it to beat the Tar Heels for a third time this season. Miami had blown out North Carolina by 26 points in February but didn't put this one away until the final minutes. Larkin drove by Dexter Strickland for a layup and a 76-71 lead, then McKinney Jones struck again with a 3 from the left corner off a feed from Rion Brown that made it 79-71 with 1:36 left - the Hurricanes' biggest lead to that point. Larkin went 6-for-6 at the free throw line in the final minute to keep Miami in control. It was an emotional moment for Miami seniors Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble - who were all part of the team that was a last-place seed in the 2010 tournament that made the program's first run to the semifinals. As the confetti fell from the rafters of the Greensboro Coliseum after the final horn, Scott leapt into the arms of Gamble, then shared a big hug with Johnson. The question now is how the win will affect Miami's NCAA tournament seeding and whether the Hurricanes have done enough to earn a No. 1. For the Tar Heels, the third straight finals appearance didn't appear likely after that humiliating loss to the Hurricanes on Feb. 9. But that's when Williams inserted Hairston into the four-guard starting lineup, a move that changed everything for the Tar Heels.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

UNC G Hairston starts ACC semis despite injury

North Carolina P.J. Hairston started Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinal against Maryland despite an injury that has his left hand heavily wrapped. Hairston had been a game-time decision. His middle and ring fingers were bound together with a splint and most of his hand was wrapped in bandages and tape. He needed eight stitches to close a wound on his left hand...

Hairston Injures Hand

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- P.J. Hairston injured his left (non-shooting) hand late in North Carolina's 83-62 win over Florida State in Friday's ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The sophomore required eight stitches between his middle and ring finger and his status moving forward is to be determined.

Previewing Maryland

With or without the injured P.J. Hairston, North Carolina will play Maryland on Saturday in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The No. 7-seeded Terps stunned Duke on Friday. The game will tip at approximately 3:30pm at the Greensboro Coliseum and will be televised by ESPN and the ACC Network.

NCAA tournament primer: North Carolina

North Carolina (24-9, 12-6 ACC) Seed: 8-seed in South region RPI: 18 Coach: Roy Williams, 25th season, 22 NCAA appearances Last NCAA Tournament appearance: Lost to Kansas in regional finals (2012) Notable wins: UNLV, N.C State, Virginia Key Player There's little question the insertion of P.J. Hairston into the Tar Heels' starting lineup turned the season around in Chapel...

North Carolina tops Florida State in ACCs

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- P.J. Hairston scored 21 points to help North Carolina beat Florida State 83-62 on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.pt Hairston hit five 3-pointers before leaving late in the game with a cut on his left hand, while Reggie Bullock added 17 points for the third-seeded Tar Heels (23-9). They took control with a 13-0 run...

FSU sent home by North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- P.J. Hairston scored 21 points to help North Carolina beat Florida State 83-62 on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals. Hairston hit five 3-pointers before leaving late in the game with a cut on his left hand, while Reggie Bullock added 17 points for the third-seeded Tar Heels (23-9). They took control with a 13-0 run early...

UNC hangs on to beat Maryland in ACC semis

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock scored 15 points apiece and North Carolina held on to beat Maryland 79-76 on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals. P.J. Hairston scored 13 points despite a heavily wrapped and injured left (non-shooting) hand for the third-seeded Tar Heels (24-9), but his missed free throw with 16 seconds left...
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!

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.