Green helps North Carolina survive Georgia TechJan 17, 2008 - 7:20 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- It may still be undefeated, but North Carolina has really had to work to win on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Danny Green split a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining as the top-ranked Tar Heels overcame an inspired effort by Georgia Tech for an 83-82 victory on Wednesday.
Finishing with 10 points, Green also blocked an initial attempt on the Yellow Jackets' final possession in the waning seconds and rebounded the second miss to help seal the contest for the Tar Heels (18-0, 3-0 ACC).
"I feel very lucky," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "They had two shots at it at the end. It was a great effort, physically, by both teams. I told (Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt) that it was no consolation because I feel awfully lucky right now."
"We played with tremendous effort tonight," Hewitt said. "I feel very badly for them. We had a lot of opportunities. There were a lot of situations out there tonight that could have swung the game. Unfortunately for us, they didn't go our way."
One of three unbeaten teams left in the nation along with Memphis and Kansas, North Carolina has had some very tight moments away from Chapel Hill in the last two weeks. In their conference opener, the Tar Heels were pushed to overtime at Clemson before Wayne Ellington's 3-pointer in the final moments secured a 90-88 win.
Ellington had a career-high 36 points in that win over the Tigers, but was nearly non-existent against the Yellow Jackets, mustering seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.
"We didn't get a very good night from some of our perimeter players with their movement," Williams said. "Guys that make some shots for us didn't make many of them tonight."
On the other end, Tyler Hansbrough was his normal high-energy self, collecting 27 points and 11 rebounds for his 26th career double-double.
Despite the play of the junior forward, North Carolina found itself trailing, 66-60, after a jumper by Zach Peacock midway through the second half.
The Tar Heels responded with a 7-2 run to tie the score at 70-70 with 8:52 left, and the contest remained tight the rest of the way.
Green's layup after an offensive rebound with 3:26 remaining gave UNC an 81-78 lead, but Jeremis Smith converted two free throws with 1:13 to play to knot the contest at 82-82.
After Green missed a baseline jumper with 59 ticks left, Georgia Tech had a chance to go back ahead but Anthony Morrow missed a jumper from the right corner and Green was fouled collecting the rebound.
A key reserve for the Tar Heels, Green made the first free throw before coming up short on the second.
The miss at the stripe by Green was one of four missed free throws in the closing 5:23 of the contest for North Carolina, something Williams felt very fortunate did not come back to haunt his team.
"Danny and Tyler both missed free throws (near the end) and they've been great free-throw shooters over the year, so we do feel very, very lucky," he said.
Overall, the Tar Heels had a great effort at the stripe, going 21-of-26 after converting their first 18 attempts.
Peacock, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, got the ball in the post with time winding down, but his attempt to give the Yellow Jackets the lead was blocked by Green. Peacock tracked down the loose ball, but his jumper from the left elbow was off the mark and Green secured his fourth rebound.
Early on, North Carolina looked like it might have another easy win like Saturday's 93-62 victory over North Carolina State, pulling ahead, 16-9, inside the first five minutes behind nine points from Hansbrough.
Georgia Tech came back with six straight points, including four from Peacock, and took a 23-21 lead with 12:25 left in the first half on a 3-pointer by Lewis Clinch.
Shooting from deep was a big reason that the Yellow Jackets were able to prevent the Tar Heels from making it a blowout early, going 5-of-12 (42 percent) on 3-pointers in the first half to face just a 48-46 deficit at intermission.
"We took some good shots," Hewitt said. "One of the positive things from the Miami game was that I thought the ball movement was where we needed it to be."
UNC attempt to pull away again early in the second half, taking a 54-49 lead on a layup by Ty Lawson inside the first three minutes. Georgia Tech quickly answered with a 7-0 run behind five points from D'Andre Bell.
Smith finished with 15 points and seven boards for Georgia Tech (7-9, 0-3), which has lost three straight games.
Despite missing out on a probable season-highlight win, Hewitt is already moving on, looking ahead at Virginia Tech on Saturday.
"As I just told the team, the disappointing thing would be if we come back Saturday and don't play with that same effort," he said.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
NORTH CAROLINA (1) 48 35 83
GEORGIA TECH 46 36 82 FINAL
Jan 16 11:14 PM
- NCAA BB
(1) NORTH CAROLINA 48
GEORGIA TECH 46 HALFTIME
Jan 16 9:55 PM
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