for this game

Hansbrough, North Carolina use big second half to crush Penn

Dec 5, 2007 - 3:43 AM By Vince DiGregorio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- It was supposed to be a homecoming for Wayne Ellington, but Tyler Hansbrough stole the show for No. 1 North Carolina.

Hansbrough led all scorers with 29 points as the Tar Heels used an early second-half run to pull away from Pennsylvania, 106-71, at the Palestra on Tuesday.

Hansbrough shot 12-of-16 from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Danny Green scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half for the Tar Heels, who played the fourth of five straight road games.

"A lot of away games just prepares us for whenever we start the ACC (schedule), going into those tough atmospheres," Hansbrough said.

Meanwhile, Ellington, who attended Episcopal Academy in the Philadelphia area, started slowly and finished with 13 points. He was among five scorers in double figures for the Tar Heels.

"I kind of had a rough first half," Ellington said. "I took some out of the ordinary shots for myself. I had a better second half."

North Carolina (8-0) started the second half with a 50-37 lead and used a 17-6 spurt capped by a layup by Hansbrough to go up, 67-43, just four minutes into the stanza.

"The crowd was getting on (Hansbrough) a little bit early and that sort of made me feel pretty good," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I knew that he was going to be even more focused than he normally is. As a coach, I've never had anybody more focused and anybody more driven than he is."

The Tar Heels led by as many as 41 points as they took control over the scrappy, but overmatched Quakers.

"I think we just started running a lot more," Hansbrough said. "We got a lot of things (going) offensively for us in the second half."

Tyler Bernardini led the Quakers with 26 points, while Brian Grandieri added 17.

"We just have to develop tougher skin, clean up some things and improve our execution," Penn coach Glen Miller said.

The Tar Heels were making their first appearance in 20 years at the Palestra, billed as college basketball's most historic gym.

"I love coming to places like this," Williams said. "I'm corny and I'm old-fashioned, but I enjoy venues like this."

Similar in size to Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, Williams told the team what to expect from the sellout crowd of 8,722 prior to the game.

"I always liked playing in these little gyms like this," Hansbrough said. "Kind of reminds me of high school, but I love it. I think I feed off the atmosphere."

Penn (2-7) had struggled entering the contest and were coming off an 87-61 drubbing at Villanova last Saturday. The Quakers were never in that game, trailing at one point by a 33-6 margin.

This meeting threatened to be more of a blowout as the Tar Heels routed the Quakers by a 102-64 score last season in Chapel Hill.

But Penn was competitive in the first half thanks to the guard tandem of Bernardini and Grandieri, who had 16 and nine points, respectively, in the opening 20 minutes.

"(Bernardini) is a very good player," Williams said. "I told our staff 'Why the dickens didn't we recruit him?' The kid played very, very well. I knew he was pretty doggone good."

Facing a No. 1 team for the first time at the Palestra, Penn battled North Carolina, trailing by just three at 29-26 with 7:01 left in the first half.

However, Ellington scored seven points during a 21-11 run which helped the Tar Heels take a 13-point lead at the break.