The enigma showed up for a battle of historically great programs — bringing a stroke and efficiency that hasn’t been seen since last year.
Paige was named ACC preseason co-player of the year, along with Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia.
The 6-foot-1 — smooth senior guard had struggled after missing the first six games of the season, but return to average 16 points a game — while lighting the Maryland Terrapins up in a December 1st meeting that had some anointing Carolina champions that night.
Paige looked in vintage form in North Carolina’s 101-86 win over Indiana on Friday night in the Sweet 16 of Philadelphia’s East Regional.
Marcus Paige caught fire in the first half with 4 triples!https://t.co/5NI8rZrqQU
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 26, 2016
Paige was 5-of-12 from long distance in the Tar Heels’ first two NCAA Tournament games, after going 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the ACC Tournament title game.
Paige scored 21 points and was 6-of-9 from 3-point range in the victory — including hitting four triples in the first half.
Marcus Paige's six 3-pointers ties Shammond Williams for the most in a tournament game in UNC history. pic.twitter.com/QPQh4LshRT
— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 26, 2016
“I felt good,” said Paige, who led the Tar Heels (31-6) with 21 points, and set up a third-contest with conference rival Notre Dame in the Tarheels first regional final appearance since 2012. “As a shooter, when you get the first one to go down, it’s always a good thing for your confidence. That really helped me get going, and I think other guys fed off that.”
UNC thumped the Fighting Irish by 31 in the ACC Tournament, but the Regional Final will be a different monster.
Notre Dame beat Wisconsin in the final seconds to advance to the Regional Championship on Sunday — which will tip-off at 8:49 p.m. EDT in PhiladelphiaPowered by Sidelines