“Of course I felt bad for him. We all want Leslie out here. But it is what it is. We have to keep moving,” Hairston said.
“I just have to come off and contribute and do all the little things to help my team.”
Hairston started the game strong, posting eight first half points in eight minutes on the court. At the 15:03 mark, Hairston asserted his presence early by sinking a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner of the floor, just steps away from the Georgia Tech bench.
Less than three minutes later, as if to ensure his opponents hadn’t forgotten about him, he did it again from the same spot, right under the Yellow Jackets’ noses.
Wednesday night’s version of Hairston is a far cry from the one that showed up in UNC’s 62-52 win against Maryland, during which the guard went 1-for-8 from the field.
“We don’t have (consistency from him) yet,” Williams said. “But we’ve got to get consistency out of him if he wants to be the big-time player that we need him to be.”
Against the Yellow Jackets, Hairston posted his 10th double-digit scoring performance. He’s proven to be a constant contributor. That’s why Dexter Strickland said he’s not concerned about Hairston’s on-and-off again outings.
“Even Ray Allen, one time, he was 0-for-12, and he’s considered the best shooter ever,” he said. “You’re going to have nights like that. … A shooter keeps shooting.”
In what would be his final basket of the night, Hairston took a post-steal pass from Strickland and, putting an exclamation point on an already standout showing, leapt in the air for a one-handed dunk over Yellow Jacket big man Daniel Miller.
The Smith Center crowd, which would soon break out with a chant heralding his name, went wild as a stone-faced Hairston backpedaled away from the basket.
“I already had my mind made up I was going to be dunking it,” Hairston said. “But little did I know I was going to be dunking on a 6-11 center.”
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