for this game

Hansbrough back to health as UNC tops Nicholls State

Dec 20, 2007 - 7:45 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Tyler Hansbrough was more than willing to show Nicholls State how healthy he was.

Hansbrough scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as top-ranked North Carolina recorded an 88-78 victory over the Colonels on Wednesday.

Playing for the first time since absorbing a concussion late in the second half of a 93-71 victory at Rutgers on Sunday, Hansbrough displayed no ill effects from the bump on his head.

"He was fine, I wasn't really that concerned about it," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "Last night, he said he slept great, eating great, feeling great so I was not worried about him."

A finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden Awards last season, Hansbrough appeared to be his normal high-energy self, scoring 11 points in the first half as the Tar Heels took a 48-37 lead.

Even when North Carolina (10-0) was holding a 17-point lead in the early moments of the second half, Hansbrough continued to complete the hustle play, diving on the floor near midcourt for a steal before feeding a streaking Marcus Ginyard for a layup and a 58-39 advantage with 17:30 remaining.

Overall, the junior forward finished 8-of-13 from the field and converted 11-of-14 free throws for his third straight game with at least 20 points.

Wayne Ellington had 20 points and Ty Lawson and Ginyard added 12 apiece for the Tar Heels, who shot 48 percent (28-of-58) in playing at home for the first time in six games.

North Carolina did show some vulnerability on the defensive end, allowing Nicholls State to shoot 14-of-28 on 3-pointers in nearly scoring 80 points.

"We didn't defend and we allowed the ball to get into the paint, causing everybody to help and allowed them to kick out for open shots," Ginyard said. "We had bad closeouts, bad help, bad on-the-ball defense. It was just an overall bad, bad effort tonight."

Colonels coach J.P. Piper was thrilled that his team was able to absorb any hits from the nation's top team and stick around. Earlier in the year, they dropped an 81-58 contest against Florida State back on November 9.

"I'm ecstatic about the toughness, the attitude toward competing, the willingness to never give up in the game and persevere through the times," Piper said. "They got a couple of steals, they got that dunk in transition and I thought here it goes, here it goes, the dam is about to burst open, but it never rattled them and just kept playing. Big steps for us tonight."

Ryan Bathie scored 17 points and handed out eight assists for Nicholls State (4-8), which saw a two-game winning streak end.

    --- --- -----
    NICHOLLS ST 37 41 78
    NORTH CAROLINA (1) 48 40 88 FINAL

    Dec 19 11:00 PM


    Dec 19 9:57 PM