for this game

Hansbrough, UNC roll past Virginia Tech

Feb 17, 2008 - 12:12 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- After an ugly loss and a pair of close calls, Tyler Hansbrough and North Carolina had no trouble winning their fourth game without Ty Lawson.

Hansbrough scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds Saturday afternoon as the fifth-ranked Tar Heels rolled to a 92-53 rout of Virginia Tech in Atlantic Coast Conference action.

The Tar Heels (24-2, 9-2 ACC) had struggled through a rough stretch without the injured Lawson over the last 10 days, losing at home to arch-rival Duke before squeaking out hard-fought victories over Clemson and Virginia.

North Carolina's leader in assists and third-leading scorer, Lawson has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury February 3 against Florida State. The high-powered Tar Heels clearly were out of sync in Tuesday's 75-74 win at Virginia, their third-lowest scoring output of the season.

But five days later, North Carolina's fast-paced attack looked alive and well thanks to Hansbrough, who shot 6-of-13 from the floor and 11-of-12 from the line to pace five Tar Heels in double figures.

"We knew we had to pick each other up," said swingman Wayne Ellington, who scored 19 points. "We have some guys that aren't feeling too well, some guys that are injured. So we knew we had to come together collectively as a team and play Carolina basketball."

"I think hopefully guys will get better," Hansbrough said. "Some luck will happen and when the times comes back pretty much everybody will be ready within the next couple of weeks or something. It is kind of amazing how many injuries we have but I think some guys are stepping up."

Danny Green chipped in 12 points and Alex Stepheson 11 for UNC, which outrebounded the Hokies, 54-24, to avenge a pair of losses to Virginia Tech last season.

"Well it was really a great day for us," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "You have to feel for (Virginia Tech coach) Seth (Greenberg). I tell you, you go through some struggles with some freshmen."

Along with their terrific offensive performance, the Tar Heels buckled down defensively as well, forcing Virginia Tech to shoot just 26 percent (14-of-54) from the floor.

"I think it was our best defensive game of the year," Williams said. "But let's be honest, they missed some shots that they normally would make. You look at their field goal percentage for both halves, right at 26 percent. If we had been playing defense like that the whole season, it would really have been a fun time. They did miss some shots that they would normally make."

Malcolm Delaney scored 20 points for the Hokies (14-11, 5-6), who lost their third consecutive game.

"It is very simple, they were very good and we weren't," Greenberg said. "We didn't play very well. Its kind of embarrassing in terms of some of the decisions we made and how hard we competed.

"They are a very good team and we did not obviously raise our level of play to be competitive at this level tonight. It's very rare for our team to play that way but I guess everyone has one of those in their system and this time it was ours."

The Tar Heels raced to a 43-23 halftime lead courtesy of a 23-11 run over a 12-minute stretch. Hansbrough scored six points during the spurt and Quentin Thomas capped the outburst with a thunderous dunk, giving UNC a 39-20 lead two minutes before intermission.

The 39-point win was largest victory over Virginia Tech in school history.

"I thought it was there to start with, but we got discouraged," said Greenberg of his team's effort. "It's human nature probably. It's disappointing and unfortunate."