Tar Heels win game; Hairston gets eight stitches
North Carolina was well aware of what happened to the Duke team which throttled it seven days earlier.
Florida State wasn’t going to be given a chance for another Friday night upset.
The Tar Heels blitzed the Seminoles 83-62 in the last quarterfinal, moving on to Saturday’s semifinals in the Greensboro Coliseum against upset-minded and seventh seed Maryland. Top-seeded Miami plays fifth-seeded N.C. State in the opener at 1 p.m.
“We didn’t really get to see it,” said James Michael McAdoo of the Terrapins’ upset of Duke. “We knew what was going on of course, but didn’t see the end of the game. You could read the body language of the guys coming off.
“It’s not the end of their season, but it hurts to lose, especially in a situation like this. So we definitely wanted to focus on our game, come out and take care of business.”
Greensboro product P.J. Hairston drained 21 points for the Tar Heels (23-9). He left with an injury in the second half, apparently to a shoulder, then returned but left again needing stitches to close a slice in the webbing of his fingers. His status for Saturday’s game was unknown at midnight, having needed eight stitches on his left, non-shooting hand.
The basketball jammed between his middle and ring finger, causing the cut. The stitches are equally divided between the front and back of his hand. A UNC spokesman said he would try shooting Saturday morning to see if he can play.
“We’re extremely concerned right now,” said head coach Roy Williams while Hairston was being stitched up. “His hand is torn up. It doesn’t look good. I saw where it was split.”
Junior Reggie Bullock added 17 points, McAdoo 12 and Dexter Strickland 10. Marcus Paige dished out 10 assists against just one turnover and scored nine points.
“It was a nice effort for us offensively, particularly in the second half to shoot 61 percent,” Williams said. “The problem is we let them shoot 54 percent, too.”
“It makes the game so much easier,” McAdoo said of Hairston’s 5-for-6 effort from 3-point range, and 7-for-11 shooting overall. “He and Marcus were knocking down shots. It opens up the court so much more. It helps with the spacing, and guys are able to get to the basket more because of it.”
Michael Snaer led Florida State (18-15) with 20 points and seven rebounds.
For the Tar Heels, it was a nice turnaround from the blowout home loss to Duke.
“We just came into the game, knowing it would be a different atmosphere,” McAdoo said. “We won some games before the Duke game. That helped us. We weren’t going to let that loss affect us going into this game. Guys played well, made shots.
“Hopefully everybody is going to be feeling healthy going into tomorrow.”
North Carolina, the tournament’s third seed, bolted from a deadlock at 23 to a 35-25 lead just before halftime. Thirteen straight points in the second half opened a 17-point chasm.
“It seemed like we could not keep up with Bullock and Hairston,” said Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. “Our game plan was to not allow them to get out offensively in transition and get those open looks. They have such great range and they get it off so quick.”
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