North Carolina crushes Iona in home openerNov 19, 2007 - 4:55 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- After receiving a scare earlier in the week, North Carolina found refuge at the Smith Center.
Tyler Hansbrough had 27 points and nine rebounds to lead the top-ranked Tar Heels to a 107-72 rout of Iona in the first round of the Las Vegas Invitational on Sunday.
After nearly being taken to the limit by Davidson in a 72-68 win on Wednesday, North Carolina (2-0) found the going much easier against the Gaels (0-3), a team which won just two games last season.
"(Iona coach) Kevin (Willard) has a tough challenge, he has a team that went 2-28 last year," Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. "He is a bright young man, he worked with (Louisville coach) Rick (Pitino) and his dad is a big time coach that nobody knows about. He is going to be fine, but he has a tough hand right now."
Hansbrough and Danny Green scored the first 13 points of a 44-19 run that expanded a 8-7 lead with 15:58 left in the first half into a 52-26 bulge at intermission. Hansbrough shot 6-of-8 from the field and hit 11-of-15 free throws.
"He (Hansbrough) plays basketball the way every kid should play basketball in my mind," Iona coach Kevin Willard said. "He plays so physical and is an impressive player."
The 6-9 junior forward was pulled from the game with the Tar Heels leading, 85-49, with about nine minutes remaining.
North Carolina flashed their ability to hit shots from the arc as well - an area regarded by many to be one of the Tar Heels' biggest weaknesses. North Carolina hit six straight 3-pointers during a first-half spurt and connected on 10-of-24 for the game.
"We shot 50 percent for the game and 10-24 from threes, which is too many," Williams said. "I don't like that, but three were from the guys at the end of the game. Just because the other team is playing zone doesn't mean you have to shoot the ball from the outside.
"We talked about getting the ball inside to Tyler and Deon (Thompson), and I thought those guys did a nice job. We are not going to just stand out there and shoot the ball just because somebody plays zone."
Green added 15 points for the Tar Heels, who never trailed and enjoyed a 47-22 advantage on the boards.
"I feel good, I feel confident," Green said. "I feel like coach has more confidence in me than he did last year. It's a good feeling; it's always a good feeling. I didn't play as many minutes as I did the last couple of games because I didn't have to."
Dexter Gray poured in 18 points and Andre Tarver added 16 for Iona.
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