Freshman Dexter Strickland scored eight points and two assists off the bench for North Carolina. DTH/Jordan lawrence

Freshmen propel Tar Heels to win

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Trailing 13-2 and steaming mad at his team, North Carolina coach Roy Williams yanked the team’s veterans.

Against a hot-shooting Mississippi State team playing on its home floor, Williams sent in freshmen Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Travis Wear, John Henson and sophomore Tyler Zeller.

Ten minutes later, the Tar Heels had gained the lead.

Men's basketball

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Senior Jarvis Varnado of Mississippi State set the NCAA record for career shot blocks.

UNC prepares to take on Mississippi State in NIT second round

The throwback uniforms and relocation to Carmichael Arena were good for one win, and next up for North Carolina is a stiff road test.The Tar Heels, a No. 4 seed in the NIT, won their tournament opener by beating No. 5 seed William & Mary in the smaller and decidedly more intense Carmichael. UNC even hit 80 points for the first time in 2010.

Thompson ?nds success in NIT win

When Deon Thompson made a mental error on the first play of the second half, the senior knew exactly where to go. He ran straight up to UNC coach Roy Williams and pleaded, “Don’t kill me.”Williams only said he’d think about it at the time, but after Thompson led UNC to an 80-72 win in the opening game of the NIT, he had nothing but compliments for his big man.

UNC advances in NIT

William & Mary drilled 16 3-pointers, but North Carolina held off the Tribe 80-72 in the first round of the NIT tournament.The Tar Heels dominated in the paint, as senior Deon Thompson piled up 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Freshman John Henson added nine points and 10 rebounds.

No miracle in store for Tar Heels at ACC tournament

GREENSBORO — It was one and done in the ACC Tournament for the North Carolina men’s basketball team.The formula for UNC’s latest loss — a 62-58 defeat to Georgia Tech (22-12) — was a familiar one. Too many turnovers, too many missed shots and too much inexperience down the stretch.

2010 NIT bracket

North Carolina selected to go to NIT

North Carolina will get one more chance.The Tar Heels, mired in a 16-16 season and a tenth-place finish in the ACC, were nonetheless too attractive a candidate for the National Invitational Tournament to pass up, and UNC earned a No. 4 seed in the NIT. The Tar Heels host No. 5 seed William and Mary on March 16.

Travis Wear (43), John Henson (31) and Leslie McDonald (15) look on as the final minutes tick away. DTH/Daniel Sircar

North Carolina knocked out in ACC first round

GREENSBORO – It’s one and done in the ACC Tournament for the North Carolina men’s basketball team. The formula for UNC’s latest loss – a 62-58 defeat to Georgia Tech (20-11) – was a familiar one. Too many turnovers, too many missed shots and too much inexperience down the stretch.

Georgia Tech's Derrick Favors shields Tyler Zeller from a rebound in the second half. DTH/Daniel Sircar

Favors, Zeller dominate post play

GREENSBORO — During the offseason, North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller added width to his 7-foot frame so he’d be more formidable in the post. He needed every pound against Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors on Thursday night.

Duke's Brian Zoubek (55) and Kyle Singler (12) double-team North Carolina's Tyler Zeller (44) during NCAA men's basketball action at Cameron Indoor Stadium, in Durham, North Carolina, on Saturday, March 6, 2010. Duke topped North Carolina, 82-50. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT0

Duke blows out UNC in season finale

DURHAM – In Duke vs. North Carolina, there is seldom a sure thing. But Saturday’s regular season finale was never in doubt.Duke built a 20-point lead in just 11 minutes and a 30-point lead in 26. After four straight losses to UNC in their own building, the No. 4 Blue Devils took back Cameron Indoor Stadium. Emphatically.

UNC trails Duke at halftime, 53-26

 Durham — North Carolina trails Duke by 27 points after 20 minutes of play at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 53-26.Kyle Singler leads the Blue Devils with 19 points. Nolan Smith has 16, and John Scheyer has 11 points and seven assists.

UNC, Duke face off once again Saturday night

This Saturday night, it’s chapter two in the 2010 edition of the North Carolina-Duke rivalry.The Tar Heels are on their first win streak of 2010, with wins against Wake Forest and Miami. The Blue Devils have a No. 4 national ranking and at least a share of the regular-season conference title locked up despite a stinging loss at Maryland on Wednesday night.

Senior Deon Thompson goes up for two of his 14 points against the Hurricanes. DTH Will Cooper

Ginyard leads Heels in ?nal home game

Tuesday night might have been all about North Carolina’s past, but nothing came easy for the Tar Heels of the present.After Miami battled back from an 18-point deficit early in the second half to cut the lead to one, it took inspirational play from UNC’s seniors to put the Hurricanes away.