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Men's Basketball: Baker back in the rotation

Calvin Baker played 18 minutes on Sunday and eared the praise of Coach Tony Bennett. This is especially notable because Baker did not play the last two games, and did not travel to last Saturday's game against Wake Forest because of a coach's decision.

Although Baker still struggled with turnovers and ball control, Bennett complimented his leadership down the stretch. He finished with three points, one assist and three turnovers.

"I knew it was important to be back with the team," Baker said. "Coach didn't play me last game. He felt like I wasn't ready, it wasn't time for me to play. He just trusted me. This was the type of game, in this environment, where you need my leadership. So I tried to go out there and be a leader, like I always have been."

Baker took particular satisfaction in Sunday's win because it was his final game in Smith Center. He had been on the receiving end of bad losses from the Tar Heels, and knew he contributed to Sunday's victory.

Baker took some credit for the way the team remained composed down the stretch of the game, answering a question about the team's final minutes by discussing his leadership on the court. He is a senior captain and admitted the past 10 days have been difficult, but is ready to move on from last week's absence.

"The coaches know my value to the team," Baker said. "They know every team has to have a leader on the court. I have to be an extension of Coach Bennett on the court. He trusts me. I can see he's starting to trust me."

By Zach Berman  |  February 1, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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