Sunday, March 1, 2009


No. 5 NORTH CAROLINA 104, No. 161 GEORGIA TECH 74 – You have to admit, that Tyler Hansbrough, he’s funny.

Regarding his setting of the NCAA all-time free throws made record he set yesterday with foul shots 899 through 907, Hansbrough deadpanned, "There's a lot of fouls involved."

After making only 11 trips to the charity stripe in the last three games when his season average would dictate 30 such trips, suddenly the zebras decided that hacking Hansbrough was again a punishable offense.

This follows a week when John Clougherty, the ACC's coordinator of men's basketball officials, defended the league's officiating saying he had watched more video of Hansbrough than any other ACC Hoopster. According to the official on offficals, the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder is "one of the most difficult to officiate because he doesn't shy away from contact -- he wills himself on people."

And instead of leaping over defenders, Clougherty added, "he usually gets them on his hip and initiates the contact ... and referees are less likely to penalize the defender if the offense creates the contact."

If that's the case, however, Hansbrough has been challenging defenders and initiating collisions since he arrived at Carolina. So what, if anything, is different from last year or the year before that or the year before that?

Clougherty, and others, claim Hansbrough has adjusted his game, shooting more jump shots this season and getting fewer touches.

While we agree with those assessments, the “officials call it differently if you initiate contact” seems like complete nonsense used to rationalize inconsistency. Were that actually the case, Duke’s Gerald Henderson’s flying elbow would have him eliminated with five offensive fouls by halftime of every game.

However, with whistles clamped firmly between teeth, Karl Hess, Roger Ayers ,Les Jones sent Psycho T to the line eight times on Saturday, and the senior made all eight to set the NCAA record.

He entered the game just six shy of Dickie Hemric's mark of 905. He tied Hemric (Wake Forest) with 6:43 left in the first half and broke the record with 14:54 to play. In Hansbrough's typically understated style, he appeared oblivious to the record until his accomplishment was announced a few minutes later during a timeout.

All in all, Hansbrough had 28 points and 10 rebounds. Danny Green added 23 points for the ACC leading Tar Heels , who bounced back from their overtime loss at Maryland a week earlier and used a pair of huge runs to reach the 25-win mark for the third straight year.

UNC (25-3, 11-3 ACC) took the lead for good during a 21-5 run midway through the first half that also put them up by double figures to stay, and pushed the lead to 20 barely 2 minutes into the second half while opening the half with a 14-2 spurt.

Lewis Clinch scored 22 points and Alade Aminu added 19 to lead the last-place Yellow Jackets (10-17, 1-13), who lost their seventh straight and were emphatically denied their first victory in Chapel Hill since 1996.

Deon Thompson and Wayne Ellington added 10 points apiece, and the Tar Heels shot 53.6 percent while forcing 18 turnovers and holding Tech's freshman star, Iman Shumpert, scoreless for the first time this season on 0-of-6 shooting.

(Photo by Zeke Smith/ and Robert Willet/Raleigh News & Observer)

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