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Hansbrough scores 35 as North Carolina rebounds

Jan 24, 2008 - 7:22 AM CORAL GABLES, Florida (Ticker) -- Tyler Hansbrough and North Carolina did not need long to get back on track.

Hansbrough scored a season-high 35 points as the fourth-ranked Tar Heels bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 98-82 victory over Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Wednesday.

Ty Lawson had 23 points and Wayne Ellington added 12 for North Carolina (19-1, 4-1 ACC), which turned up the offense in playing in its first game since being knocked from the top spot in the national rankings following Saturday's stunning 82-80 loss to Maryland.

"I was really pleased with our guys mentally bouncing back after the Maryland game," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "It was disheartening to say the least. We had two really good days of practicing and I think it really showed the way we played out there today."

The Tar Heels, who improved to 11-2 in the all-time series with the Hurricanes, shot 48 percent (36-of-75) from the field and converted 22-of-24 free throws in tallying more than 95 points for the seventh time this season.

North Carolina showed no layover coming off its initial loss, grabbing an 18-10 lead with seven minutes expired when Danny Green's 3-pointer capped an 11-2 run.

The Tar Heels had a misstep when the Hurricanes then reeled off 10 straight points to go ahead, 20-18, on a dunk by Raymond Hicks with 8:35 left.

However, Lawson and Ellington combined to make sure that North Carolina did not experience any more tenuious moments, scoring 12 of the Tar Heels' next 18 points for a 36-30 lead with 4:37 left in the opening half.

That cushion was extended to another point at halftime, 47-40, and North Carolina pulled ahead by double digits after Hansbrough had 11 of his 27 second-half points in the first seven minutes following intermission.

The junior forward added a three-point play and a dunk on a 12-3 run that pushed the lead to 81-65 with 5:50 to play.

"I thought Tyler (Hansbrough) just took over the game," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "His physical presence and his toughness were noticeable, and that was the separation. He just completely dominated our post guys."

Hansbrough finished 10-of-15 from the field and knocked down 15-of-16 free throws while grabbing eight rebounds.

Behind the Wooden Award candidate, North Carolina finished with a 42-26 advantage in points in the paint as it handed Miami its first loss at home this season (9-1).

Lawson, who scored 15 points in the first half, tied a career-high with 10 assists in guiding the nation's second-highest scoring team in the nation. The Tar Heels' average of 91.4 is bettered only by VMI's 93.9.

Lawson also only had one turnover as North Carolina finished with a season low in giveaways with seven.

Lance Hurdle scored a season-high 20 points and Hicks chipped in a career-best 17 for Miami (14-4, 1-3), which has lost three straight league games and four of its last six after beginning the season at 12-0.

Jack McClinton had 11 points and seven assists and James Dews added 10 and 5 for the Hurricanes, who did commit 17 turnovers, leading to 29 points for the Tar Heels.

Despite the setback, Miami will look to bounce back when it hosts No. 25 Clemson on Sunday.

"There is a lot of basketball to be played," Haith said. "We've got a big game on Sunday against Clemson and other ranked teams coming into the BankUnited Center so we've got to get out guys ready to play."