Sunday, March 22, 2009


N0. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 84, No. 8 LSU 70 – A still out-of-whack North Carolina with a rusty Ty Lawson looked to be wearing down the over matched Tigers at halftime.

Then the second half started and LSU came out firing and making shot after shot. The Tigers erased a nine point deficit making shot after shot until the Tar Heels realized the game wasn’t over and there was still work to be done.

Lawson scored 21 of his 23 points after halftime, and his three-point play sparked the decisive second-half run that got the Tar Heels rolling again.

Wayne Ellington scored 23 points to lead the Tar Heels (30-4), who ran off 11 straight points in a tie game to take control and move on to next week's regional semifinals in Memphis, Tenn. North Carolina will face the winner of the Gonzaga-Western Kentucky game.

Marcus Thornton scored 25 points to lead the Tigers (27-8), who gave Carolina everything they could handle even while playing in front of a hostile crowd in Greensboro. But, the Tar Heels have two strategies – they can run away from a team or they can buckle down and play good defense and wear the other team down. This time the latter strategy was good enough.
Tasmin Mitchell finished with 18 points for LSU, which was making its first tournament appearance since reaching the Final Four in '06.

Lawson finished 7-for-13 from the floor to go with six assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes. The Tar Heels needed that big performance, too, considering Hansbrough managed only one second-half field goal before finishing with 15 points.

Danny Green, who came in averaging 13 points, had just eight and was 2-for-9 before hitting his only 3 of the day during the big run.

Ellington also had a strong day, going 9-for-16 despite being defended much of the way by Garrett Temple, who had notably shut down national player of the year J.J. Redick during the Tigers' upset of Duke during his freshman year in 2006.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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