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ACC Tournament: Frasor fills in for UNC star Lawson

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
ATLANTA ó Bobby Frasor did everything in his power to help Ty Lawson even as he replaced him.
Lawson, sidelined by a right toe injury, became the first ACC player of the year to sit out his team’s tournament opener. Frasor filled in at point guard and played a career-high 37 minutes in North Carolina’s 79-76 quarterfinal win against Virginia Tech on Friday.
Lawson, sporting a white uniform underneath his UNC shooting shirt, cheered on his teammates from the bench. The absence of dress shoes and a tie kept him from wearing a suit.
“I had to give Ty my tie,” Frasor said. “He doesn’t have any shoes, either. That’s why he dressed out today.”
Lawson, who is expected to also miss today’s semifinal matchup with Florida State, tried to pass off his clothing choice as an effort to feel more like part of the team.
Later informed that Frasor had revealed the real reason, Lawson explained his situation.
“I didn’t forget my suit; it’s right here,” Lawson said from his locker inside the Georgia Dome. “I had the pants, the shirt, all of it. I just forgot to pack my tie and my shoes. I was in a rush out, so I forgot them.”
Frasor wasn’t finished with assists.
He had three official ones and one turnover to go along with four points against the Hokies. His previous high of 34 minutes came against Illinois in the fourth game of his college career.
“No one’s going to be able to fill Ty’s shoes,” Frasor said. “He gets us so many easy plays just by his raw speed. No one’s going to be able to duplicate that.
“I just wanted to come in, be a steady hand, not turn the ball over, get guys involved where they need to be. I’m surrounded by scorers, so I don’t need to be pulling a lot of shots. I thought I did a decent job.”
With wing player Marcus Ginyard already out for the season because of a foot injury, Lawson’s unavailability forced coach Roy Williams to alter a thin perimeter rotation.
Freshman point guard Larry Drew II came off the bench and played 14 minutes, his second-highest total against an ACC foe. He had four assists and two turnovers.
Justin Watts, a freshman who often takes the floor alongside UNC’s walk-ons at the end of blowouts, played five first-half minutes. He picked up an assist on a 3-pointer by Frasor, who started 31 games as a freshman on the 2005-06 team that went 23-8.
“Bobby gives us some different things,” Williams said. “I thought he played to his strengths, and that’s important to us.
“Basically I have no idea about Ty’s status. I would think it’s unlikely that he would play, but he felt much better today than he did (Thursday). But I think it would be unlikely that he would play.”
Lawson, who hurt his toe before the regular-season finale against Duke, said the swelling has reduced.
Trainers and doctors have come up with exercises to improve his movement, but Lawson said he still feels pain.
“It’s sore when I put pressure on it, when I walk,” Lawson said. “I can barely run on it. It’s real tough going out there and trying to do much of anything on it.”

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