Thursday, March 5, 2009

HEELS WEAR DOWN HOKIES

No. 2 NORTH CAROLINA 86, VIRGINIA TECH 78 – Tyler Hansbrough had 22 points and 15 rebounds as UNC used a 10-0 run after the Hokies closed within one point late in the second half. Unlike, the Maryland Meltdown, this time the Tar Heels played smart and made free throws at the end of the game.

Senior A.D. Vassallo did his part on Senior Night leading the Hokies (17-12, 7-8 ACC) with 25 points, while Malcolm Delaney had 19 and Jeff Allen added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Nonetheless, the Hokies were never able to take the lead.

The Tar Heels (26-3, 12-3), who lead Duke by one game heading into their regular-season finale Sunday in Chapel Hill, clinched at least a tie for the ACC title, and head coach Roy Williams said it is especially gratifying "because everybody was jumping ship after we were 0-2."

Danny Green, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half and hit two big 3-pointers, said the Tar Heels' ability to respond when Virginia Tech got close was critical.

"When a team goes on a run and you don't stop their run, it's hard to get your momentum back or swing it back your way," Green said. "We had to at some point stop their run and we stopped it when we needed to, when they tied the score up, and went on our little run."

Virginia Tech lost for the fifth time in six games and again saw its hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament compromised. The Hokies have lost seven of their last 10 and they finish the regular season at No. 24 Florida State on Sunday.

Ty Lawson added 22 points for the Tar Heels and Wayne Ellington had 15.

The Tar Heels opened the game with a 17-8 run and led throughout the first half. Tech closed to 39-36 on Allen's dunk 43 seconds before halftime, but Hansbrough hit a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left in the half for the 42-36 lead.

(AP Photos/Steve Helber)

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