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November 13, 2010

Freshman Debuts

North Carolina did not have Harrison Barnes' innate ability to get out on the break when it couldn't score at Georgia Tech last season.

Nor Reggie Bullock's jumper when it needed to stretch the defense against Wake Forest.

Nor Kendall Marshall's passing ability when it managed just nine assists at Duke.

But this is a new year, and these are new players who bring a wide array of skills to a Tar Heels team searching for an identity.

Friday night, the No. 4 recruiting class in the country was instrumental in the team's 80-66 win over Lipscomb.

Barnes, Bullock and Marshall combined for 24 first-half points and provided energy when North Carolina needed it most.

Barnes, the first freshman ever to be named a pre-season First Team All-America, connected on six of his 12 attempts and finished with 14 points.

"After the exhibition game, that showed me a lot about myself and just how physical the college game is and that you've got to take a bump off the dribble. So I adjusted to that from last Friday," said Barnes, who shot just 2-of-9 that game.

"He's got a chance to be a heck of a player," said Coach Roy Williams. "He's a natural scorer, and as the game goes on, he'll get more comfortable out there, and I think the game will come a little easier to him."

At the 14:17 mark Barnes was replaced by Bullock, who hit his first three shots and went on a personal 8-0 run, as the Tar Heels went from trailing 13-10 to leading 18-13.

"I had my crowd from back home come watch me play," he said. "So I just had to play like I was back home in Kinston."

While Barnes and Bullock are true scorers, Marshall is usually far more comfortable as a facilitator and orchestrator of the offense.

Friday, though, he looked for his own shot against a Lipscomb team playing a 2-3 zone with some holes.

"I was just taking what the defense gave me," said the 6-3 guard, who scored just one point in the exhibition game, but had 10 Friday. "Last week, our wings were getting out, and they didn't have a lot of guards back, so I was able to throw it ahead.

"This week, they had guards sitting back, so I got caught on the pass a couple times in the first half, but after that I adjusted to it," he added.

Marshall replaced junior starter Larry Drew after Drew missed two free throws with 1:24 remaining and the game not completely sealed.

"I gave him a chance at the end of the game when the game's on the line, so that should give him some confidence too, but he's a true quarterback," Williams said of Marshall.

"We've got a lot of guys who are going to get some time in the game, and we need everybody to do something positive."






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