North Carolina-Boston College Preview
Marcus Paige had his best shooting performance in a little more than a month this past weekend but couldn't keep North Carolina from its first losing streak of the season.
The ninth-ranked Tar Heels will seek to end that quickly with a favorable matchup Tuesday night against a Boston College team that is winless in the ACC and was routed by North Carolina just over a week ago.
Paige went 7 of 12 from the floor and 5 of 8 from 3-point range Saturday at unranked Notre Dame while scoring 21 points, but North Carolina lost 80-76. The Tar Heels' senior guard shot 21.1 percent while averaging 6.0 points in his previous six games – including a 71-65 loss to then-No. 19 Louisville on Feb. 1 – and went 5 of 36 from beyond the arc.
North Carolina (19-4, 8-2) held Notre Dame to 34.8 percent shooting and a 3-of-16 performance on 3-pointers, but the Irish went 31 of 38 from the free-throw line. The Tar Heels also forced two turnovers while allowing the home team to convert their 13 miscues into 19 points.
“We have to find some kind of combination of guys that are willing to do it for the entire game,” Paige said. “Whether it's five point guards or five centers, we've just got to find five guys ready to compete for the whole game.”
North Carolina blew out Boston College 89-62 on Jan. 30 for its most recent victory, extending its winning streak to 12. Brice Johnson led the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds, among his current career-high streak of five double-doubles.
Paige scored 12 points while going 3 of 8 from 3-point range, his best performance during his slump, as the Tar Heels scored 30 points off 23 turnovers.
North Carolina has won eight in a row over the Eagles (7-16, 0-10) and has taken the last three at Boston College. Isaiah Hicks scored a career-high 21 points in last February's visit – a 79-68 victory – and Johnson had 20 points with 10 rebounds.
Boston College has lost its ACC games by an average of 21.4 points and those woes will likely continue with a fourth consecutive matchup against a ranked opponent. The Eagles' 79-49 loss at Louisville on Saturday was their most lopsided of the season.
They're 0-8 against Top 25 teams this season and have lost 15 straight to ranked foes.
Leading scorer Eli Carter (16.1 ppg) was held to two points on 1-of-9 shooting. The senior transfer from Florida had seven points and made 2 of 9 shots against Virginia on Wednesday after scoring 19 versus UNC.
Boston College is the ACC's worst scoring team, averaging 61.6 points on 40.9 percent shooting. It's also connected at a league-low 63.8 percent from the line while earning just 15.0 attempts.
“Our problems have been the same night in and night out. We don't have enough guys playing consistently yet,” coach Jim Christian said.
North Carolina is among the league leaders with 84.5 points and hasn't dropped three straight since January 2014.