College Basketball: UNC 100, Oral Roberts 84
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2008
CHAPEL HILL ó Top-ranked North Carolina didn’t come out of its exam break with its sharpest performance. That didn’t stop the Tar Heels from cracking the 100-point mark anyway.
Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and nine rebounds to help North Carolina beat Oral Roberts 100-84 on Saturday, the sixth straight game the Tar Heels scored at least 98 points.
Deon Thompson added 22 points for the Tar Heels (9-0), who shot 59 percent to take a 20-point halftime lead and were never seriously threatened from there. It was North Carolina’s fourth 100-point game of the season.
Still, the Tar Heels looked more like they cruising through the second half instead of playing with the edge that had carried them to impressive early season routs of Kentucky, Notre Dame and Michigan State. Coach Roy Williams was irritated afterward by the Tar Heels’ lack of rebounding ó they were beaten on the boards for the second time this season ó and a defense that allowed Oral Roberts (2-7) to score 50 points to outscore the Tar Heels in the second half.
“We were not sharp at all,” Williams said. “I’ve been pleased with what we’ve done, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. But not tonight.”
In the minutes after the game, Williams sounded like he was already planning several days of tough practices to get his team back in shape. He said they had practiced just twice in the past nine days.
“It’s going to come back to our team,” Thompson said. “I’m sure it will. I don’t even doubt that. Probably the bigger the games we play in, the more excited we get for the games. Honestly, I’m pretty sure we were more excited for practice yesterday than for this game today ó just enthused and into it and screaming and having fun.”
Hansbrough was playing his first game at the Smith Center this season. He sat out the first two against Pennsylvania and Kentucky as he recovered from a preseason shin injury, then missed the North Carolina-Asheville game as he recovered from a bruised ankle before the Michigan State game.
He looked right at home early, hitting his first five shots on the way to 15 first-half points. But he finished the game 9-for-18 and missed several putaways near the basket in the second half, which could be attributed to what Williams said was his lack of conditioning following the injuries.
Hansbrough is nine points from breaking the school’s career scoring record owned by Phil Ford ó which has stood for three decades ó and could break it Thursday night when North Carolina hosts Evansville.
He played much of the game with a small cut on his left knee that required two stitches afterward. He sustained the injury when he collided with the broadcast table near midcourt.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Hansbrough said of the record. “I wasn’t thinking, ‘How many points away am I?’ or anything like that.”
He wasn’t alone in tormenting the Golden Eagles. Thompson finished 10-for-12 from the field, burying both soft turnaround jumpers and tough stickbacks inside to give the Tar Heels an unstoppable frontline. Meanwhile, Ty Lawson continued his strong play with 18 points, seven assists and two turnovers.