ACC Basketball: North Carolina 104, Georgia Tech 74
By Bret Strelow
CHAPEL HILL ó A sleep-deprived Ty Lawson put to bed any bad feelings left from North Carolina’s most recent loss.
Lawson didn’t make a field goal in fourth-ranked UNC’s 104-74 home win against Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon, but he matched his career high of 11 assists.
Tyler Hansbrough recorded a double-double (28 points, 10 rebounds) while setting the NCAA record for career free throws converted, and Danny Green added 23 points as the Tar Heels took care of Tech in a game that started shortly after 12 p.m.
“I don’t get out of bed until about 12, or at least 10,” Lawson said with only a hint of sarcasm. “I had to get up at 7 to get down here at 8, so it’s real early.
“I was in bed at like 10:30 (p.m.), but I kept tossing and turning until like 2. I can’t go to sleep early.”
UNC didn’t sleepwalk through its first game in a week.
The Tar Heels (25-3, 11-3 ACC) registered only five assists on 29 field goals in an overtime loss at Maryland the previous Saturday, when Lawson attempted a career-high 20 shots.
A Lawson pass set up each of UNC’s first three baskets against Georgia Tech (10-17, 1-13), and the Tar Heels eclipsed their assist total from Maryland in a little more than six minutes. They finished with 26 assists on 37 field goals.
“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen a point guard play when he didn’t score a field goal,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.
Lawson went 0-for-3 from the field and totaled four points. He contributed to a fast start from Hansbrough, who scored 18 of UNC’s first 32 points.
Hansbrough went 5-for-5 from the line in the opening four minutes and pushed Zachery Peacock into immediate foul trouble. Gani Lawal picked up his third foul late in the first half, and both Georgia Tech forwards fouled out.
“Opportunities weren’t there (for me), and Tyler was more open,” Lawson said. “I didn’t try to force anything.”
With 15:58 remaining in the game, Lawal had been called for as many fouls (four) as North Carolina’s entire team. Hansbrough stepped to the line a minute later and broke former Wake Forest star Dickie Hemric’s record of 905 free throws made.
Hansbrough, who needs 92 points to pass J.J. Redick for first place on the ACC’s all-time points list, became UNC’s career scoring leader in a home win against Evansville on Dec. 18. He said he’s getting more comfortable with how to handle himself as crowds acknowledge the record-setting accomplishments.
“I always like to do it at home because they’re a little nicer to me,” Hansbrough said. “It’s good to get it here, and I’m glad everybody gave me that ovation.”
NOTES: The Tar Heels went 26-for-29 at the line. … The previous high for Green in an ACC game was 22 points at Wake Forest earlier this season. … Lawson also had 11 assists against Notre Dame in late November. … Former UNC coach Dean Smith turned 78 on Saturday.