Finishing Fast Starts

Finishing Fast Starts

CHARLOTTESVILLE, N.C. – James Michael McAdoo's recent trend of hot starts has enabled North Carolina to build early leads against its competition. The next step in his constant evolution as a basketball player is maintaining that level of production throughout the entire game.

In Monday's 76-61 loss at Virginia, McAdoo knocked down a jumper on UNC's third possession. The next trip down he rebounded Marcus Paige's errant 3-point attempt, but was unable to convert the putback. He drew back-to-back fouls on Mike Tobey to get to the free throw line and scored on a layup to give UNC a 13-12 lead with 14:45 to play in the first half.

McAdoo's seven points during that opening stretch match his early production against Syracuse on Jan. 11 (10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 1H) and Boston College on Saturday (11 points on 4-of-5 shooting). In each of those games, the junior forward's contributions off the tip enabled the Tar Heels to find a rhythm offensively.

"The biggest thing is just trying to be aggressive," McAdoo told reporters following the game. "I'm trying to set the tone and help my teammates if they're a little tentative just to get out there and get into the flow of the game. God is good – he allowed me to start off hot today."

After those initial outbursts, however, McAdoo seemingly vanishes from the equation. He scored five points over the final 32 minutes in the loss to Syracuse, while being limited to six points over the final 27 minutes and change against Boston College.

At John Paul Jones Arena, McAdoo scored just four points in the final 34:45.

Defensive adjustments have played a role. UNC ran its offense through McAdoo in the high post early against Syracuse before Jim Boeheim took that option away. On Monday, Virginia stopped doubling the block, which prevented open cuts into the lane.

For a team that's limited offensively, having a consistent post presence is critical in scoring enough to win against the bevy of halfcourt defenses on the schedule.

"He's our best player – he's James Michael McAdoo," sophomore guard Marcus Paige said. "We need him to do that and then we need to not go away from him. In the middle of games, he gets lost a little bit and then we try to reestablish him late, but we need to understand that our offense needs to be more focal through him because he's a great offensive player and he's a guy that can get his own shot and get to the foul line.

"He's started off great these last couple of games, but we need to keep throwing him the ball and keep getting it to him in his sweet spot of 15 feet and in where he can score."

McAdoo has now scored in double figures in each of his last 11 games. He's averaging a team-h igh 13.6 points per game in ACC play.

 

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