• 36°

Heels handle GT

By Bret Strelow

Salisbury Post

CHAPEL HILL — Another road struggle left Georgia Tech in a foul mood.

Tyler Hansbrough reaped the benefits.

Hansbrough went 12-for-13 from the free-throw line in the second half and finished with 24 points in fourth-ranked North Carolina’s 77-61 victory against the visiting Yellow Jackets on Saturday night.

UNC (17-2, 4-1 ACC) moved within a half-game of first-place Boston College in the league standings and handed Georgia Tech (13-5, 2-3) its 15th consecutive road loss.

Hansbrough drew two intentional fouls in the second half, when he posted 18 points. He scored a career-high 40 as the Tar Heels overcame a 20-point deficit in an 82-75 home win against the Yellow Jackets last season.

“It wasn’t like I was trying to have an encore or anything like that,” Hansbrough said. “I just felt like I should play this game the same way. I prepared for it the same way and did the same things. I just wanted to come out and let things happen.”

UNC freshman forward Brandan Wright scored only nine points in the first single-digit performance of his young career, but the contributions of Hansbrough and Reyshawn Terry (16 points) offset Wright’s tough outing.

Freshman Thaddeus Young scored a team-high 22 points for coach Paul Hewitt’s Yellow Jackets, who trailed by as many as 25 points during the 1,900th victory in North Carolina history.

“We’re always happy to get an ACC win,” UNC coach Roy Williams said, “but I told Paul it was sort of an ugly, sloppy, bad game in some ways for both teams.”

North Carolina took a 34-23 advantage into halftime even though neither team scored in the final 31/2 minutes. The number of combined possessions without a point reached 20 in the first two minutes of the second half, and Hansbrough ended the streak with a two-handed dunk.

Georgia Tech forward Zach Peacock knocked Hansbrough to the ground during another dunk attempt with 12:43 remaining. Official Ted Valentine called Peacock for an intentional foul, and Hansbrough made both free-throw attempts.

“It was a very physical game, and I think I handled it well,” Hansbrough said.

The officials called another intentional foul on RáSean Dickey six minutes later. Young missed a 3-pointer from the corner, and Hansbrough fell to the floor while battling Dickey for the rebound.

Hansbrough again made both free throws.

“Maybe he has a thing against them,” fellow sophomore Danny Green said, “or maybe they don’t know how to guard him.”

Hansbrough, who went

14-for-19 from the line against Georgia Tech last season, was 14-for-15 on Saturday night.

He has made 74 percent of his attempts in 50 career games.

“I feel awfully comfortable when he steps up there,” Williams said.

Defense played a bigger role than offense even though Terry, who didn’t reach double figures in seven of UNC’s previous eight games, scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes against Georgia Tech.

UNC held the Yellow Jackets to season-low totals in field-goal percentage (41.7) and points.

“North Carolina just outplayed us,” Hewitt said. “They were much more physical than we were, and from the opening tip they just took it to us the whole night.”

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Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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