NCAA Tournament: North Carolina 101, Radford 58
By Bret Strelow
GREENSBORO ó Injured guard Ty Lawson, his right sneaker removed at times, stayed seated and retied the shoe as his teammates approached the postgame handshake line.
Lawson dressed out but didn’t play in an NCAA tournament opener for top-seeded North Carolina, and it still rolled to a 101-58 win against 16th-seeded Radford on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Wayne Ellington scored 25 points, and Tyler Hansbrough became the ACC’s all-time leading scorer in a 22-point showing. Freshman reserve Ed Davis continued his late-season surge by posting a career-high 15 points, a total matched by a previously slumping Danny Green.
“We blew them out and were playing real well, so it was easier to watch,” Lawson said. “As long as we’re doing good, I don’t mind sitting, but I want to get on the court as soon as possible.”
The Tar Heels (29-4) advanced to meet eighth-seeded LSU (27-7) in a second-round game scheduled to begin Saturday at 5:45 p.m.
Lawson, who said he expects to play against the Tigers despite having a jammed right big toe, wasn’t needed against Radford (21-12).
Deon Thompson deflected the opening tip directly to Ellington, who required only three seconds to push UNC in front for good.
North Carolina forced starting guards Amir Johnson and Kenny Thomas into 11 turnovers. Interior scoring threats Artsiom Parakhouski and Joey Lynch-Flohr shot 8-for-32.
The Tar Heels swatted three attempts by the 6-foot-11 Parakhouski in the opening half, and Davis accounted for four of UNC’s eight blocks.
“I think the pace of the game and the number of big guys that we could run in there perhaps tired them out a little bit,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “I don’t think their big guy was nearly as effective as I’ve seen him on tape. That’s what we try to do all the time ó try to make the pace and stamina a question mark.”
Hansbrough played only 20 minutes, including five after halftime, but went 12-for-12 from the free-throw line and overtook former Duke star J.J. Redick for first place on the ACC scoring list.
Needing only three points, to set the record, Hansbrough banked in a short jumper and later drew a shooting foul with 15:43 remaining in the first half.
He came out of a timeout and swished his first attempt, causing UNC fans to rise for a loud ovation. Hansbrough, aware of the reaction but unresponsive to it, swished another free throw and retreated to the other end.
Officials stopped regular-season games to honor Hansbrough once he achieved a milestone, and his focus has intensified with the start of NCAA play.
“That’s why I didn’t make a big deal about it with a wave or anything like that,” Hansbrough said. “I’m sure if it would have been at home or been an ACC game I would have stopped for them to give me the ball or something like that. It was important to me, but I’m glad things kept moving.”
Hansbrough did receive the gameball, and he said he anticipated hearing from Redick later in the day.
Redick scored 2,769 points in his Duke career, and Hansbrough now has 2,789.
“I’m just glad he broke the record on a free throw,” teammate and close friend Bobby Frasor said. “I think that’s pretty fitting. It is pretty impressive the way he’s just able to perform day in and day out.
“His game has evolved since his freshman year, and this year he hasn’t gotten the recognition for breaking all these records. Everyone’s kind of overlooking him saying this is his last year and his time in the spotlight is done. He’s still going to work every day and producing for us. We get the same old Tyler Hansbrough every day.”
NOTES: Reserve guard Larry Drew II had five assists in 19 minutes, and fellow freshman Tyler Zeller grabbed eight rebounds in 13 minutes. … Green, who shot 3-for-25 at the ACC Tournament, went 6-for-14 against Radford and recorded the third double-double of his career. He had 10 rebounds. … Williams has won at least one NCAA game in each of the last 20 seasons, and his record is 50-18. … The margin of victory ranks second in UNC’s tournament history. It beat Rhode Island by 45 points in 1993.