Heels finally get it going

Second-half surge swamps Cougars

Staff WriterJanuary 8, 2009 

CHAPEL HILL -- Well, that's more like it.

Three days after losing its No. 1 ranking, its first game of the season and its chance to go undefeated, No. 3 North Carolina bounced back Wednesday with a 108-70 blowout of College of Charleston at the Smith Center.

The Tar Heels' defense wasn't suffocating, what with the Cougars shooting 46.9 percent in the first half and one of UNC's best stoppers, Marcus Ginyard, sitting on the bench for the entire game. But Carolina shot much better from the field (58.6 percent) and the free-throw line (19-for-22) -- and became the first opponent to score 100 or more points against the Cougars since 1977, a span of 951 games.

Plus, there was no questioning the Tar Heels' aggressiveness. Their lack of that was something they believe cost them dearly in their loss to Boston College on Sunday.

"We wanted to get some of that out of our system -- some of that feeling of disappointment, by coming out and playing well tonight," UNC forward Tyler Hansbrough said. "It's still going to be there, but it helps that we came out and won and played well."

Considering Charleston led by as many as three points early, then remained within striking distance for most of the first half by burying eight 3-pointers, it wasn't exactly the rout in the beginning UNC fans might have expected.

But Carolina (14-1), which made 59.5 percent of its shots in the first period, pulled away with an 8-2 run -- including a Ty Lawson layup at the horn -- to take a 53-41 lead into halftime.

The Tar Heels began the second period with an 11-0 run and the Cougars (10-3) never really recovered.

Reserve point guard Larry Drew II's layup with 3:51 left gave the Tar Heels a 100-60 lead, and marked the first time since Dec. 6, 1977 that the Cougars allowed an opponent to score in triple digits; it was the second-longest such streak in the nation.

"I could care less about that," Cougars coach Bobby Cremins said of the streak.

"... There's no excuses. I thought we could've played better. They're good. Also, after Boston College, I knew they would be totally focused."

And they managed that focus without Ginyard, who returned last month after having foot surgery in October. He played in the previous three games but has been slow to return to 100 percent. He was in uniform, but UNC coach Roy Williams said: "I didn't feel like playing him tonight; he's been struggling quite a bit, and he's just not where we wanted him to be at that time and decided not to play him."

The senior went through pregame warm-ups, then sat on the bench wearing a sleeve on his right leg to protect a lingering knee bruise.

Asked if Ginyard's problems had to do with his previously broken left foot, or getting back into game shape, Williams said: "It's everything. Have you seen the offensive rebounds, have you seen the steals, have you seen the kinds of plays Marcus makes his living on? I haven't either. So we're trying to give him a little more time and see what happens."

Hansbrough led the team with 24 points and seven rebounds. Deon Thompson and Lawson chipped in 15 points apiece. Shooting guard Wayne Ellington, who had made only 29 of 79 shots in his previous seven home games, finished 3-for-5 with 10 points.

Tony White Jr. led Charleston with 16 points.

"Basically, for us, it was an opportunity to get the bad taste out of our mouth," Williams said.








White Jr284-114-41-11116








Three-point goals: 10-33, .303 (White Jr. 4-10, Goudelock 2-7, Wiggins 2-8, Scott 1-1, Sundberg 1-3, Monroe 0-2, Hammond 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 4 (Scott, Campbell, Sundberg, Wiggins). Turnovers: 12 (Monroe 3, Hammond 3, Goudelock 2, White Jr., Wiggins, Scott, Johnson). Steals: 9 (Sundberg 3, Scott 2, Wiggins 2, White Jr., Monroe). Technical Fouls: None.











Drew II162-30-01-3524








Three-point goals: 7-15, .467 (Ellington 2-3, Frasor 2-3, Green 2-4, Lawson 1-1, Drew II 0-1, Tanner 0-1, Watts 0-1, Graves 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 5 (Davis 2, Thompson, Green, Ellington). Turnovers: 14 (Lawson 3, Hansbrough 2, Green 2, Ellington 2, Drew II 2, Davis, Frasor, Watts). Steals: 9 (Davis 2, Lawson 2, Green 2, Drew II, Frasor, Graves). Technical Fouls: None.

College of Charleston4129--70

North Carolina5355--108


robbi.pickeral@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8944

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