for this game

Hansbrough no factor as North Carolina breezes to win

Mar 9, 2007 - 9:49 PM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- North Carolina star forward Tyler Hansbrough wore a mask to protect his face. Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton could not mask his anger at the officials.

While Hansbrough got acclimated with his new equipment, Hamilton's technical foul at the end of the first half prolonged the momentum for No. 8 North Carolina, which rolled to a 73-58 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals.

Freshman Wayne Ellington scored 18 points and Ty Lawson added 14 for the Tar Heels (26-6), who never trailed and toyed with the Seminoles as they track their first ACC tourney title since 1998. They will face Boston College in the semifinals.

"We're so talented, if one guy goes down, we're a team," Ellington said. "We rise to the occasion."

Hansbrough was a unanimous first team All-ACC selection for the second straight year, averaging 18.8 points this season. However, he was on the receiving end of a shot to the face from Duke's Gerald Henderson on Sunday and wore a clear double-strapped mask to protective a broken nose.

"I really felt for him, playing with that mask on," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "The doctors really wanted him to do it and I was able to convince him to do it today. I don't know if I can convince him (Saturday)."

"I'll wear it as much as I need to wear it," Hansbrough said.

The forward was not a factor, scoring just six points on 3-of-7 shooting and fouling out in 27 minutes. He had trouble with his peripheral vision.

"It doesn't effect my ability to breathe, just my vision," Hansbrough said. "I think I would have got a lot more steals, rebounds and shots (without it). My shots, because of my vision, were cut in some spots."

"It bothered him like it would bother everybody," Williams said. "It's one of the things that everyone's forgotten about with all the stuff, that this is a kid that got hurt and I think he tried to play as hard as he possibly could."

Ellington picked up the slack and played a role in the key stretch of the game.

Despite a sub-par first half, Florida State (20-12) was within 30-26 in the final minute. But Reyshawn Terry made two free throws, Ellington drained a mid-range jumper and freshman Deon Thompson stole the ensuing inbounds pass and put in a bucket before the buzzer.

"That was a huge lift right before the half," Williams said. "It was safe to say it was a four-point game or a six-point game and then all of a sudden it was a 10-point game."

Hamilton felt Thompson committed a foul on the steal. He burst off the bench onto the court and was hit with a technical foul.

"I reacted, maybe overreacted, and he gave me a technical," the coach said. "Obviously he saw it differently and he has the final say."

Ellington opened the second half by making both technical foul shots. That began an 8-0 spurt by North Carolina, which widened its advantage to 44-26 and never looked back.

"We started the second half with an easy two points and that's always good," Ellington said. "It got us in a flow, got us the momentum."

"It happened so fast," FSU's Jerel Allen said. "We know that North Carolina is a good transition team. When you're in the game, in the heat of the moment, you don't really know until a timeout or something comes. We looked up and they were up a lot more than they had been."

Freshman Brandan Wright scored 11 points and Terry added 10 and nine rebounds for the Tar Heels, which shot 53 percent (27-of-51) and limited the Seminoles to 31 percent (17-of-55).

North Carolina did an excellent job in containing Florida State junior Al Thornton, the ACC's leading scorer and a future NBA first-round pick who managed 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting before fouling out.

"It was really frustrating walking to the bench," Thornton said. "I was just hoping my team would make a run."

The future of both Thornton and Florida State is unknown. Thornton may declare for the draft, while the Seminoles - who have wins over defending national champion Florida and Duke but have lost six of their last nine games - are hoping for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

"Look at our strength of schedule," Hamilton said. "There are not very many teams that played our type of schedule and we haven't lost to anyone out of the top 40-50 (in the RPI)."

Thornton sparked a 7-0 burst that pulled FSU into a 13-13 tie before North Carolina got 3-pointers from Bobby Frasor and Wes Miller in a retaliatory 8-0 spurt.

    --- --- -----
    FLORIDA ST 26 32 58
    NORTH CAROLINA (8) 36 37 73 FINAL

    Mar 9 2:13 PM


    Mar 9 1:00 PM