Tar Heels win
Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 7, 2007
By Bret Strelow
CHAPEL HILL — Roy Williams used the American Film Institute’s No. 1 movie quote of all-time to express his feelings regarding North Carolina’s likely ascension to No. 1 in the college basketball polls.
The second-ranked Tar Heels opened ACC play with an 84-58 home victory against Florida State on Sunday night.
UNC’s eighth straight win by at least 20 points occurred one day after top-ranked UCLA lost at Oregon. Williams responded to a question about the Monday release of a new AP poll by repeating the first half of Clark Gable’s famous line from “Gone with the Wind.”
“Frankly my dear … you know, one of those,” Williams said. “It says at this point in the year we’re doing all right. I’ve been No. 1 before. If you don’t finish that way at the end of the year, it meant you had a good little stretch, but it doesn’t mean what people remember.”
Tyler Hansbrough scored 25 points and collected 13 rebounds to lead UNC (14-1, 1-0) to its 11th straight victory.
Fellow forward Brandan Wright scored 12 of his 20 points in the first half, which ended with the Seminoles (12-4, 0-2) facing a 36-30 deficit.
“The second half we got the basketball inside to Tyler and Brandan, where we should be getting it a lot earlier,” Williams said. “I thought in the first half we were so quick on shooting the basketball that it was something that was really hurting us.”
Wing players Reyshawn Terry and Wayne Ellington made one shot in 10 first-half attempts and finished a combined 3-for-17.
Wright made nine of his 13 shots. Hansbrough scored 12 points in the first seven minutes of the second half and finished 8-for-12 from the field.
“I got in a groove and just kept going at it aggressively,” Hansbrough said.
A pair of three-point plays from Hansbrough gave UNC a 12-point lead with 16:34 remaining, and the Seminoles trailed by at least 10 points the rest of the way.
Al Thornton led FSU with 29 points and 12 rebounds, but the Seminoles shot 29.4 percent in the second half. Thornton went 11-for-19 from the field, and his teammates accounted for 11 field goals in 45 attempts.
Florida State, which beat 2006 national champion Florida one month ago, had no answer for UNC’s depth. Reserve point guard Quentin Thomas played only seven minutes but had three assists.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been on a lot of great basketball teams,” fifth-year Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said, “and this Carolina team has the makings of a team that’s special. … This is one of the better teams we’ve faced in the years we’ve been in the ACC.”
The Tar Heels, who won the 2005 national championship, last reached No. 1 in the AP poll during the 2000-01 season. That team, directed by first-year coach Matt Doherty, lost to Penn State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Williams doesn’t stress over rankings, but several of his players said they are looking forward to the challenge that comes with being No. 1.
“I kind of got happy when I saw that UCLA lost just so we can have that No. 1 spot and be that target that everyone’s trying to knock off,” UNC guard Bobby Frasor said. “It’s really hard to stay there for the entire year, and hopefully we can use that to motivate us.”
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.