BLACKSBURG, Va. — It took an extra half of play, but No. 8 North Carolina got its bounce-back game in an 82-68 win against Virginia Tech.
The only problem was, it lost guard Dexter Strickland to an undetermined right knee injury in the process.
“I hate it for Dexter,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.
Strickland was attempting a running shot when he planted his foot and fell to the ground clutching behind his right knee in pain, which he said “hurt like hell.”
The junior’s knee will be X-rayed Friday, and although he said it felt a little better after the game, the unknown looms large.
“We’re going to have to make up a lot defensively,” center Tyler Zeller said of the prospects of playing without Strickland. “Hopefully he just sprained something and it’s not a tear where he’d have to have surgery.”
Strickland was optimistic.
And the game also carried with it an uplifting result for the Tar Heels (16-3, 3-1 ACC) despite a slow start.
At times, UNC’s win against Virginia Tech (11-7, 0-4) hardly looked like a bounce-back performance and eerily resembled Saturday’s 90-57 trouncing. Call it the first half.