From the outset, this was one of those games that carried meaning for North Carolina only if the Tar Heels lost. Even without P.J. Hairston, oddsmakers installed UNC as a 15-point favorite at home versus Virginia Tech.

But Carolina brushed up against a potentially catastrophic defeat, saved by Marcus Paige’s key overtime jump shots and James Michael McAdoo’s strong overall play to outlast the Hokies 72-60.

The Heels appeared to have the game in hand late during regulation, but Paige and McAdoo committed consecutive turnovers and Tech missed a game-winning shot at the buzzer. UNC regained its composure during the extra session and prevailed by a deceptively large margin. Roy Williams won’t rejoice after such a lackluster offensive showing — Carolina shot just 38 percent from the field and 21 percent on threes — but his club did compensate with stout defense.

Carolina will host Wake Forest on Tuesday and should be able to defeat the young, albeit improving Demon Deacons. Click here to view the UNC/Virginia Tech box score.