by Aaron Beard, The Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina's P.J. Hairston looked in midseason form Friday night despite a trouble-filled offseason, while freshman Kennedy Meeks appeared ready to give the Tar Heels a boost up front.
Hairston scored 20 points in the team's public scrimmage during the annual "Late Night With Roy" preseason event, while Meeks had 16 points and 12 rebounds, according to unofficial stats. The Blue-White game ended in a 50-all tie on Marcus Paige's runner with 0.5 seconds left.
Hairston received a loud cheer from Smith Center fans when players were introduced early in Friday night's show. The junior got off to a fast start in the 20-minute scrimmage, hitting the first of his four 3-pointers barely 10 seconds in.
The Tar Heels are looking for some inside help after relying on a four-guard lineup late last season, and Meeks — a 6-foot-9 forward from Charlotte — could fill that void. He's already dropped from 317 pounds when he arrived on campus this summer to 284, and he finished with a double-double.
"You see what he can do: carve out space, get offensive rebounds," Paige said. "So that should help us out a lot. He's a big presence and he has good hands."
The "Late Night" show of skits, dancing and jokes typically marks the start of preseason practice, but the Tar Heels are already a month into workouts due to NCAA rule changes.
Friday's show opened with the introduction of the women's basketball team, though recently inducted Naismith Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell was unable to attend as she continues her treatment for leukemia here on campus. Hatchell taped a message that was played shortly before her players took the court.
"I want you to make a lot of noise so I can hear you up here at the Lineberger Cancer Center," Hatchell said, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
Her longtime assistant Andrew Calder is leading the program while Hatchell is focusing on treatment. The Tar Heels added a recruiting class ranked No. 1 nationally by ESPN with three McDonald's All-Americas.