Kris Lang got a crash course on defending a quick post player from a pretty good source -- Antawn Jamison.
Some of Jamison's offensive skills also must have rubbed off on the 6-foot-10 freshman, who scored 21 points and helped shut down Georgia star Jumaine Jones as No. 10 North Carolina beat the Bulldogs 65-58 in the second round of the Preseason NIT on Wednesday night.
"Antawn helped me (Tuesday) after practice," Lang said when asked where he learned to play post defense. "I got some tips from him. I thank him a lot for that."
"He told me to use my hips, my lower body, and that really helped," Lang added. "I came (to North Carolina) thinking I've got to play defense if I want to get some time and I really worked hard on my defense in the preseason. It's paying off."
Ademola Okulaja, who split time with Lang guarding Jones, added 14 points, while Ed Cota was key down the stretch, chipping in with 14 points and 11 assists.
The Tar Heels (3-0), who blew a 13-point second-half lead before rallying for the victory, now head to New York City to play Purdue in the semifinals next week.
"This helps us grow up more than anything," said Lang, who scored the most points by a North Carolina freshman since Jamison had 25 against VMI in February 1996. "This will help toward the end of March."
North Carolina beat the Bulldogs by two in overtime last season in Athens, Ga., and this one turned out to be almost as close as Georgia (2-1) rallied down the stretch to tie it 55-55 with 4:08 left.
But Cota sank a 3-pointer 15 seconds later and the Tar Heels went on to win for the 53rd time in their last 58 games despite 13 second-half turnovers.
The Tar Heels controlled the pace with their half-court offense and shut down Jones, who came into the game averaging 27.5 points The 6-foot-7 sophomore was held to 12 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
"I just couldn't hit the shots that I normally hit," said Jones, who missed his first seven attempts. "They played pretty good defense. It's pretty hard to shoot over those tall guys."
Georgia came into the game with five double-figure scorers, but only three scored in the opening 20 minutes. Jones was 0-for-6 from the field in the first half.
D.A. Layne kept the Bulldogs within striking distance. The freshman came off the bench and hit five straight shots and finished with 15 points.
"It's tough to come into the Dean Dome and get a win," said Jones. "We've got to bounce back and keep going."
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved