Wednesday, March 5, 2008

TUESDAY NIGHT HOOP

#1 NORTH CAROLINA 90, FLORIDA STATE 77

Roy Williams good teams have a certain style. If opponents have the right strategy, play good D, get some rebounds, and ultimately control the tempo, they can trade punches with the #1 team in the country. Teams can even do it in the Dean Dome.

But, the last 5 minutes of the first half when a little fatigue sets in and just a little bit of focus gets lost, watch out. Better brace yourself for a big Tar Heel run.

That’s exactly what happened to Florida State when UNC outscored the Noles 20-8 in the latter portion of the first half to break open a close game. With 5:02 left in the first half, the Noles, coming in on a three-game ACC win streak, were hanging tough at 24-24. When the halftime buzzer sounded, it was UNC 44, FSU 32.

Good night, game over. Please drive home safely.

Tyler Hansbrough had 20 quiet points as FSU’s big men denied him the ball early. Ty Lawson, playing in his first home game in a month, added 10 points in 20 minutes to help the Tar Heels beat the Noles 90-77 keeping them in position to play for the ACC regular-season title this Saturday night against #5 Duke.

It was senior night, so the Heel faithfuls got to give some love to "Q" -- Quentin Thomas, the only scholarship senior, who has played remarkably well while filling in at point guard. (The other senior, walk on 6-5 Surry Wood by way of Hampden-Sydney, scored four points in four minutes including the Heels opening basket.)

Marcus Ginyard had 13 points for North Carolina (28-2, 13-2), which maintained a comfortable margin through most of the second half for its seventh straight victory. North Carolina, which spent 11 weeks atop the national rankings before losing to Maryland here in January, was playing its first game since regaining the No. 1 spot following Tennessee's loss at Vanderbilt last week.

Lawson had seven points on 3-for-3 shooting in the second half, helping the Tar Heels shoot 70 percent after the break while pulling away from the Seminoles (17-13, 6-9) over the final 11 minutes. North Carolina led by just six midway through the second half before pushing the margin to as many as 23 in the final minutes.

Jason Rich was spectacular scoring 27 points to lead Florida State, which was trying to win four straight ACC games for the first time since the Sam Cassell-led Seminoles did it 15 years ago.

"Carolina scrambled the game with their run and jump, and their trapping of our ball screens," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We never regained our composure, and that's a credit to them."

Head coach Roy Williams hugs senior Quentin Thomas #11 of North Carolina Tar Heels after Thomas fouled out during the second half against the Florida State Seminoles at the Dean E. Smith Center on March 4, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jason Rich #25 of the Florida State Seminoles drives against Will Graves #13 and Danny Green #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the second half. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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