marcus paige

Marcus Paige outduels T.J. Warren, hits game-winner (VIDEO)


A relatively boring first half of basketball turned into the Marcus Paige and T.J. Warren show down the stretch.

Warren scored 26 of his 36 points after halftime, but he was bested by Paige, who netted 29 of his 33 points after the break, including a layup with 0.9 seconds left in overtime as the No. 19 Tar Heels knocked off the Wolfpack, 85-84, on Tuesday night.

Paige has developed a pretty impressive reputation for these kinds of late-game exploits, having overcome slow first halves to make wining play after winning play in wins over Duke and Florida State in the past two weeks. He went through a lull at the start of ACC play where he was not shooting the ball well, but ever since Roy Williams slid Nate Britt to the bench and started using Paige as his primary ball-handler, the Heels have been winning.

Saturday was their tenth in a row. Paige is averaging 18.9 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 46.0% from three during that stretch.

Before I move on to N.C. State, it’s worth noting that J.P. Tokoto was tremendous for UNC. He had 18 points, 11 boards and five assists, which helped make up for the fact that Leslie McDonald and James Michael McAdoo were a combined 3-for-16.

This loss is a heartbreaker for the Wolfpack, as it all but seals up their trip to the NIT. Mark Gottfried’s club was in a tough spot as it was, likely needing to win out in order to have a shot at stealing an at-large bid, but with the number of bubble teams that seem averse to winning games, picking up a win over North Carolina would have gotten them right back into the conversation.

It’s a shame as well, because the nation finally got a prolonged look at just how good T.J. Warren can be when he gets hot. Those 36 points came in a game where he made just a single three-pointer. He’s not a great defender and he doesn’t create much offense for anyone else, but the kid can flat out get buckets.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.