for this game

Hansbrough, North Carolina survive Rice, Boston College

Mar 2, 2008 - 12:08 AM CHESTNUT HILL, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- North Carolina survived a monster first half from Tyrese Rice and posted an impressive comeback victory.

Tyler Hansbrough had 25 points and nine rebounds and Wayne Ellington scored 20 as the second-ranked Tar Heels rallied for a 90-80 triumph over Boston College in Atlantic Coast Conference action on Saturday.

Danny Green added 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench for North Carolina (27-2, 12-2 ACC), which remains tied for first place in the conference with Duke (12-2).

"To say its a tale of two halves would be too much of a pun but that's exactly what it was," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I really believe that our defense was the biggest part of the game. We got several turnovers and converted on the other end and it started to be a game where I felt like if we could get it within 10 inside the 10-minute mark we'd have a great shot at the game, and we got there a lot quicker than that."

The Tar Heels started the game in a big hole as Boston College jumped out quickly behind Rice, who scored 12 straight points on four consecutive 3-pointers to give the Eagles a 16-2 lead just over three minutes into the contest.

The junior guard was not done, scoring 11 straight Boston College points - giving him 23 consecutive for the team - as the Eagles held a 27-12 advantage with 13:04 left in the first half.

Rice had already surpassed his career high with 34 points in the first half - making 8-of-9 shots from the arc - as Boston College held a 54-40 lead at the break.

"I didn't know until I actually looked up at the end of the half to see what the score was and I was like, wow, it really didn't look right," Rice said. "I've never had that feeling before in a game. I was just put in the right positions to score and the shots were falling."

But North Carolina would come back, rallying from 17 down with 17:23 to play, using an 18-0 burst to take its first lead of the game at 62-61 with 11:13 remaining. Coach Williams had pulled out all five starters at the 17:07 mark and Green sparked the run with three 3-pointers during the burst.

"For us to make a run we've got to make defensive stands and I thought the last two possessions that those guys (the starters) were in there ... they allowed the guys to drive to the basket from 15 feet and nobody got in to help," Williams said. "So I was just mad at what they were doing defensively.

"Basically if we're going to get our tail kicked, I'm still going to get 100 percent effort and I didn't feel like I was getting it at that point."

The teams traded baskets until Ellington's 3-pointer gave North Carolina a 71-67 advantage and, following an 11-1 run, the Tar Heels took an 82-70 lead to virtually put the game out of reach with 4:21 left to play. Boston College never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

North Carolina shot 61 percent (19-of-31) in the second half and outscored the Eagles, 50-26, over the final 20 minutes.

Rice finished with 46 points - the second-most in school history - on 14-of-25 shooting for the Eagles, who have lost four straight games and 10 of their last 11.

"The things that changed (in the second half) was they got more aggressive defensively and we obviously did not respond well to it," Boston College coach Al Skinner said. "They (North Carolina) are who they are, and they are not going to give in easily."

The contest also marked the return of Tar Heels point guard Ty Lawson, who had missed the past six games with a sprained left ankle. The sophomore came off the bench and scored four points on 1-of-5 shooting with five assists and two steals in 21 minutes.

"I liked the fact that he got in and was able to play," Williams said. "Being able to get his feet underneath him - I think he was 2-for-2 from the free-throw line - get him some game conditioning is what I like more than anything."