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Why UNC freshman Nassir Little did not return in the second half against Wake Forest

UNC’s Roy Williams: ‘We caught Wake Forest on a good day for us and a bad day for them’

Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over Wake Forest
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Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over Wake Forest

North Carolina freshman wing Nassir Little played against Wake Forest despite a sprained ankle that kept him out of the second half of UNC’s game against Virginia on Monday.

He had five points in 11 minutes against the Demon Deacons, but for the second straight game, did not return in the second half. Little stayed back in the locker room when the Tar Heels came out after halftime.

UNC coach Roy Williams said after the game that Little got hit in the chest on his last field goal attempt and was feeling uncomfortable.

“He’s OK,” Williams said. “He was already a little uncomfortable with his ankle, and instead of trying to play him those minutes let’s get him feeling a little better and his ankle another half to rest.”

“It’s not a big deal, as far as I know.”

UNC built a 28-point halftime lead over Wake Forest and won 95-57. The Tar Heels were 16-for-25 from behind the 3-point line.

Little, a 6-6, 220-pound wing was able to practice some this week and his status was a game-time decision. He warmed up prior to the game and moved well.

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North Carolina’s Nassir Little (5) warms up with a dunk prior to the Tar Heels’ game against Wake Forest on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

Little is averaging 9.8 points per game and 4.5 rebounds off the bench for UNC this season. He did not talk to the media after the game.

The Tar Heels are dealing with a number of injuries to key players. Graduate senior wing Cam Johnson twisted his ankle Monday and played. He scored 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers.

Freshman wing Leaky Black sprained his ankle last month and missed his fifth consecutive game, and sophomore forward Sterling Manley has a sore knee and missed his 13th consecutive game.

Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.
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