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Terry helps North Carolina top Michigan State

Mar 18, 2007 - 8:23 AM WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- It was the youngsters Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson that created separation before Reyshawn Terry finished off Michigan State.

Terry overcame a poor shooting performance to score 12 of his 14 points in the second half as top-seeded North Carolina posted an 81-67 victory over No. 9 Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region.

Hansbrough finished with 33 points and nine rebounds and Lawson added 20 for the Tar Heels (30-6), who advanced to the regional semifinals for just the second time in the last seven years.

North Carolina will face the winner between No. 4 Texas and Southern California in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Friday.

The Tar Heels also reached the 30-win plateau for the eighth time in school history and second in the last three years. The last time North Carolina posted 30 wins was during its national championship season in 2005.

Despite the gaudy offensive numbers for the Tar Heels, they faced a serious challenge from the Spartans, who were looking to improve to 12-1 in second-round games under coach Tom Izzo.

Although it has averaged 65 points this season, Michigan State (23-12) was able to go toe-to-toe with North Carolina, which boosts a lineup that includes the last two Atlantic Coast Conference Rookies of the Year.

"I thought our execution on offense tonight was maybe as good as it's been all year," said Izzo, whose shot 40 percent (8-of-20) on 3-pointers and converted 15-of-17 free throws.

Although the Tar Heels captured a 41-33 lead after closing the first half with five straight points, the Spartans battled back, opening the second with a 13-4 spurt.

Goran Suton scored all six of his points to close out the run, giving Michigan State a 46-45 edge on his layup with 14:30 remaining.

Although Hansbrough scored 14 of his points after intermission, North Carolina could not shake Michigan State, holding a 64-61 lead after the 6-9 sophomore made a pair of free throws with 5:29 remaining.

The freshman Lawson added a 3-pointer slighty more than 30 seconds later before Terry - the lone senior starter - took over, scoring the Tar Heels' next seven points for a 74-65 cushion with 1:43 left.

The 6-8 Terry, who had been 1-of-7 from the field before the burst, hit both a jumper and 3-pointer during his personal run to put away the Spartans.

"Once again the opportunity came and I felt comfortable with the shot that I took," Terry said. "It felt good and it went in."

"He made some big shots," Izzo said. "We talked about the freshmen and I get tired of hearing all about the freshmen. It's usually the juniors and seniors that really earn the keep in money time. Give him credit, he brought in the money time and did a heck of a job."

Terry, who finished 4-of-10, added another 3-pointer in the closing seconds to seal UNC's largest margin of the contest.

Terry's struggles from the field where in part due to him dealing with a migraine headache from being under the weather.

"Earlier on it was kind of tough because every time I ran my head was banging a little bit but I tried not to think about it and just worry about the game," Terry said.

Playing without a protective mask for the first time since he had his nose broken in vicious hit in a win over Duke on March 4, Hansbrough - the 2006 ACC Rookie of the Year - shot 10-of-17 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds.

"I was happy when he took it (the mask) off because I thought psychologically that would give him a little bit of a boost," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.

Named the current ACC's Rookie of the Year on March 6, Brandan Wright had the worst offensive game of his freshman season, mustering just three points on 1-of-5 shooting. It snapped a string of nine consecutive games with double-digit scoring.

Drew Neitzel scored 26 points and Raymar Morgan added 19 for Michigan State, which shot 37 percent (22-of-59) and was outrebounded, 40-29.

Neitzel, who attempted just 11 shots in the 61-49 victory over Marquette on Thursday, took a season-high 27 on Saturday, including 17 from 3-point range.

"I've never had this many shots my whole basketball career," Neitzel said. "I got a lot of open looks and it felt good coming off my hand. That's my role on the team, to be the scorer and the go-to guy on offense. I tried my best to carry us and make big shots. We came up a little short tonight."