After trailing by 14 points late in the third quarter, Bullock led a furious rally by the East squad Monday night in Greensboro, scoring 11 fourth-quarter points in a 99-98 win over the West. The Kinston High graduate finished the game with 20 points (8-for-19 FG, 2-for-6 3-PT FG), 10 rebounds and was named Most Outstanding Player.
“We got a little competitive because we just wanted to show them that we’re on the East squad so we think the best players are from the East side of North Carolina,” Bullock said. “So we just all went out and all played hard, rebounded hard and shared the ball well.”
In addition to scoring 11 fourth-quarter points, Bullock also set up TaShawn Mabry in the closing seconds for the go-ahead point. Mabry was fouled with 3.6 seconds remaining and made one of two free throws to give the East the one-point win.
With plenty of Carolina fans in the crowd in Greensboro, Bullock disappointed a bit early, connecting on just 2-of-8 shots in the first half as the East fell behind 12 at the break. After the game Bullock said he was battling a thumb injury that briefly made him consider skipping the East-West game.
But in the fourth quarter Bullock asserted himself offensively, abandoning his outside shot for strong drives to the basket and mid-range runners.
“I just knew I had to get a little more aggressive. I can’t settle for the outside shot,” Bullock said. “My teammates wanted me to get to the hole. They told me ‘If you miss the shot, just keep being aggressive and go to the hole.’ So that’s what I was doing and it worked out for me in the second half.”
The win was Bullock’s last against high school competition and his last game as a teammate of Dory Hines. Bullock and Hines played together at Kinston and became close friends during their state title runs.
“We’ve been talking all week before we actually came here,” Bullock said. “We just wanted to put it on for Kinston. Show them Kinston produces great basketball players and just went out and played hard and came out with the victory.”
The all-star festivities in Greensboro served as a quick break from college life for Bullock, who started summer school at Carolina last month. Bullock said he’s had a good time in Chapel Hill so far but he’s had his most fun in the gym.
“Hitting the weights early in the morning and going to class and chilling with my teammates,” Bullock said. “At the next level I’ve just got to be bigger and stronger and get quicker. So I’m just working on all of those things, so that’s probably been one of the funnest things I’ve been doing, just getting my body ready for next season.”
Bullock looked plenty strong last week during the Pro-Am tournament on the campus of N.C. Central, one of his first public appearances on the court since joining Carolina.
“It’s real competitive over there,” Bullock said. “They’ve got some ACC players over there. We just all play against each other, going out and just having fun.”
Aside from getting extra reps in the weight room and at the Pro-Am, Bullock emphasized chemistry as one of the biggest focuses of the team this summer. Bullock, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall are roommates this summer but the three freshmen are probably seeing each other on the court as much as they are off it.
“It basically starts with the team chemistry and bonding together and all playing together and learning each other’s moves,” Bullock said. “Just showing where each player is comfortable at so we’re basically just building a bond and going from there.”
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