Thursday, February 19, 2009

MR. ROBOTO LOVES N.C. STATE

No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 89, N.C. STATE 80 – Tyler “Mr. Roboto” Hansbrough loves N.C. State. Each time this season he’s had a single digit scoring game, he’s put up big numbers against the Wolfpack next time out. Last night Psycho T put up 27 to go with this 31 points during their first game in Raleigh.

He has now scored 90 points in his last three games against the Wolfpack, and coach Sidney Lowe is glad that he won't have to face the senior again (barring a match-up in the ACC Tournament).

"I'd love to watch him on television in the NBA," Lowe said. "I don't mind seeing him, just with another jersey on."

The Hansbrough-led Tar Heels shot 62.5 percent in the second half. They shot the basketball perfectly during an early second period 16-5 run that blew the game open. The Wolfpack narrowed the margin by shooting 64.3 percent in the second half (and 54 percent for the game), but the final score was misleading as UNC dominated the final twenty minutes.

Danny Green added 19 for the Tar Heels (24-2, 10-2 ACC) who pulled away to win their 10th straight game. North Carolina shot 55 percent and led by 19 points in the second half to improve to 12-1 against its nearby rival since Ol’ Roy took over at his alma mater before the 2003-04 season.

But the Heels defense was again the subject of post-game remarks.

"That's one of the first things he said to us, that they shot 64 percent," junior Wayne Ellington said. "They shot way too high a percentage on us. We outscored them. But when we're getting into games where teams are just as gifted offensively and can score right with us, we're not going to win those games. We've got to get teams' percentages down."

The Heels got a boost with the return of Tyler Zeller, the 7-foot freshman who suffered a broken left wrist late in the win against Kentucky on Nov. 18. He entered the game to a standing ovation with 8:28 left in the first half, and ended up with two points (1-4) and three rebounds in eight minutes.

Zeller has tremendous scoring ability and Carolina fans hope his presence inside opens up the paint even more for Mr. Roboto.

Javi Gonzalez scored 18 points to lead the Wolfpack (14-10, 4-7), with 16 coming in the first half on 6-for-6 shooting. He also hit all four of his 3-point tries, part of his team's 11-for-20 effort from behind the arc.

(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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