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Ellington, Hansbrough power North Carolina

Jan 10, 2008 - 4:05 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Wayne Ellington continued his stellar play for North Carolina.

Ellington scored 19 points to spark the top-ranked Tar Heels to a 93-81 victory over North Carolina-Asheville on Wednesday night.

Junior forward Tyler Hansbrough added 23 points and Ty Lawson 17 for North Carolina (16-0), which improved to 5-0 all-time against its pesky intrastate foe.

"We did not play our best, but you have to give credit to UNC Asheville," Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. "They really did some things that made it difficult for us."

Coming off a career-high 36-point performance that featured the winning 3-pointer with fourth-tenths of a second left in overtime in a 90-88 victory over Clemson on Sunday, Ellington picked right up where he left off against the Bulldogs.

The sophomore guard scored 15 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers, to give the Tar Heels a 53-40 lead at the break.

"We scored enough on them, but defensively in the first half we gave up 53 points and didn't rebound, had a lot of poor defensive coverages which resulted in three or four wide-open threes," Bulldogs coach Eddie Biedenbach said. "They were six for 12 from three in the first half and you can't do that against a great team."

Ellington had scored in double figures in all but one game this season, although he was limited to just four points in the second half.

"We just need to step it up, pick it up on the defensive end of the court, especially on the ball," Ellington said. "Coach was frustrated tonight. We didn't do that we know we're capable of."

Hansbrough took over in the second half, scoring 17 points to turn back UNC Asheville, which was coming off a 61-58 victory at South Carolina on Saturday.

Behind their high-scoring backcourt of Bryan Smithson and K.J. Garland, the Bulldogs stayed within striking distance, pulling within 84-74 with five minutes to play on a dunk by 7-7 center Kenny George.

"Garland and Smithson are two very good basketball players," Williams said. "I think they are fifth-year seniors. They show experience and know how to play. I really think they were a load for us."

UNC Asheville had numerous chances to get the deficit into single digits, but missed a pair of layups and the front end of a 1-and-1.

The Tar Heels then delivered the decisive blow as Hansbrough and Lawson scored all the points in a 9-0 run to balloon the margin to 93-74.

"When we got the score back to 10, we're shooting a free throw with about four minutes to go, we thought we could put some pressure on," Biedenbach said.

Smithson finished with 25 points, Garland added 16 and George contributed 14, 11 rebounds and four blocks for the Bulldogs, who shot 53 percent (33-of-62) from the floor.

"We're just not staying in front of the ball," Lawson said. "They're getting middle drives and maybe kick the ball out for threes and things like that. Today they were just throwing it to big George, so those were some of the things we need to work on."

    --- --- -----
    UNC ASHEVILLE 40 41 81
    NORTH CAROLINA (1) 53 40 93 FINAL

    Jan 9 8:58 PM


    Jan 9 7:47 PM