ACC Basketball: UNC 116, UNC Asheville 48
By Bret Strelow
CHAPEL HILL ó A buzz filled the Smith Center as Danny Green rebounded the ball in the backcourt.
UNC Asheville defenders continued to retreat even after Green dribbled across halfcourt, and he couldn’t resist the urge.
He had to take one more 3-pointer.
“I was thinking the whole time, ‘I’m not going to shoot it,’ but they all kept going,” Green said. “Nobody stopped the ball, so I was like, ‘Why not?’ ”
The final attempt rimmed out, but a second-half hot streak from Green highlighted top-ranked North Carolina’s 116-48 demolition of the Bulldogs on Sunday.
Ty Lawson had 22 points, eight assists and five steals for the Tar Heels, who played without Tyler Hansbrough but produced the program’s highest single-game totals for points and assists (30) since Roy Williams took over as coach before the 2003-04 season. Deon Thompson (17 points, nine rebounds) and freshman Ed Davis (13 points, 10 boards) controlled the paint in Hansbrough’s absence.
Green, who didn’t score as UNC (7-0) raced to a 53-19 halftime lead, went 6-for-6 from 3-point range in the first nine minutes of the second half.
The last shot in that spurt, released near where Asheville would be located on the North Carolina map that stretches horizontally across the Tar Heels’ home court, gave UNC a 82-32 advantage with 11:18 remaining.
Wayne Ellington (13 points) already was set to check in for Green, who delighted the crowd by unleashing another jumper on the next possession. He made five 3s after picking up his fourth foul and finished with 18 points.
“I figured why not take a couple heat checks, and they were going in,” Green said. “I just kept shooting.”
UNC, which faces Michigan State in Detroit on Wednesday, led by as many as 71 points against the Bulldogs (3-3).
The 68-point separation tied for the third-largest margin of victory in school history and matched a Smith Center record set in a 118-50 blowout of The Citadel in 1991. The Tar Heels won by 84 points against Manhattan in 1985 and by 69 against Davidson in 1945.
They managed to dominate even as Hansbrough, wearing a warmup shirt over his uniform, watched from the bench.
Hansbrough, who’s been recovering from a left ankle bruise and a stress reaction in his right shin, missed his fourth game. He scored 34 points last week in the EA Sports Maui Invitational final, but the long flight back from Hawaii affected him at practice Friday.
“He could barely touch the rim his foot was so stiff,” Williams said. “The only guy that could touch the rim was Ed, and Deon said it was because he had young legs.
“(Saturday) at practice (Hansbrough) was real stiff, and then he practiced and it got really loose and he felt good at the end of practice. It was stiff again (Sunday) and I decided to hold off. I have no idea if he will play Wednesday night.”
Davis started alongside Thompson on Sunday, but Williams benched both with 17:21 remaining in the first half and UNC trailing 6-2.
The Tar Heels put together a 13-1 run with Lawson, Ellington and Bobby Frasor playing on the perimeter. The 6-foot-6 Green filled in at the ‘5’ spot and was joined down low by 6-foot-6 Will Graves.
“If I play point guard, I’ve probably went through every position,” Green said. “When you’re short-handed with not a lot of guys and not a lot of bigs, you have to make some adjustments, play different positions and sacrifice.”
The stint as an undersized center lasted less than three minutes.
Green looked comfortable after the break as he lit up the scoreboard from a familiar position.
Said Williams, “Danny put on a show in the second half.”
By David Shaw firstname.lastname@example.org BOONE ó It’s a good thing Appalachian State isn’t too picky about how it wins ballgames.... read more