ATLANTA — When North Carolina coach Roy Williams decided to insert guard P.J. Hairston into the starting lineup at the power forward position, sophomore James Michael McAdoo was forced to don a new role — starting center.
Moving to a new position could have been a tough shift, but in his third game at center, McAdoo made the transition appear seamless and helped UNC (18-8, 8-5 ACC) defeat Georgia Tech (14-11, 4-9 ACC) 70-58 in UNC’s first trip to the newly built McCamish Pavilion.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” freshman point guard Marcus Paige said. “He gets more room to do whatever he wants in the post, and he can get lower position. He can roam out and set ball screens. It just gives him more options, and he’s handled it pretty well.”
By halftime, McAdoo had matched and surpassed his totals from UNC’s first meeting with Georgia Tech.While the forward scored a respectable 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Georgia Tech in January, he scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds in first half of the rematch Tuesday night. McAdoo finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, his fourth 20-point game and his first double-digit finish since dropping 20 points against Wake Forest nearly two weeks ago.
In the opening half McAdoo benefited from Paige’s unselfish play.