for this game

Hansbrough, UNC top Florida State, set sights on Duke

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:54 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Tyler Hansbrough and North Carolina made sure to take care of business before their big rematch.

Hansbrough scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds as top-ranked North Carolina used a late first-half run en route to a 90-77 victory over Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Tuesday.

Marcus Ginyard had 13 points and Danny Green added 12 for the Tar Heels (28-2, 13-2 ACC), who will carry a seven-game winning streak into Saturday's showdown at No. 5 Duke on Saturday.

"Twenty-eight wins and 13 of them in the league, we feel good about where we are and we got a big game on Saturday," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.

The Blue Devils handed the Tar Heels their previous loss, an 89-78 home setback on February 6.

There is a very good chance that the ACC regular-season title will be on the line in the rematch even though Duke (12-2) still has to travel to Virginia on Wednesday.

"Well, I think it's real important," Hansbrough said about the importance of winning the ACC title. "Just basically that it helps you down the road and all along. Plus, it's one of our goals and it is important to us."

Reclaiming the top spot in the nation after Tennessee lost last week while avoiding an upset bid at Boston College on Saturday, North Carolina took control of the contest with an 11-2 run in the closing minutes of the opening half.

Hansbrough converted four free throws and Green hit a pair of 3-pointers during the burst, giving the Tar Heels a 38-28 lead with 1:45 remaining.

"I hit a couple shots tonight, got us a nice little lead and we went on a little run," Green said. "But I'm not really worried about my shooting so much right now. I'm just worried about coming off the bench and giving a spark for the team, whatever that is. Defense, blocking shots, rebounding and if it's knocking down shots, then hopefully I'll be there to knock down some shots."

The Seminoles (17-13, 6-9) made a push midway through in the second half, closing within 59-53 on a pair of free throws by Jason Rich with 11:20 remaining.

Will Graves came back with a 3-pointer for North Carolina, starting a 14-4 run that made it 73-57 on a dunk by Green with 6:26 to play.

Ty Lawson, who appeared in his second straight game after missing six in a row - including the loss to Duke - with an ankle injury, had two jumpers in the run. He finished with 10 points in 20 minutes off the bench.

North Carolina sizzled after the break, shooting 70 percent (19-of-27) with two of the team's six 3-pointers.

"The second half offensively we were pretty doggone good," Williams said. "We shot 76 percent I think with about a minute to go. We had better spacing, got the ball where we wanted it."

Playing at home for the first time since January 31, Lawson still had some hesitation about heading into traffic due to his ankle, opting to pull up for jumpers.

"I think Ty is still not comfortable enough to take the ball to the basket in a crowd of people," Williams said. "We said the other day it is probably going to take a while for him to get comfortable."

Lawson also found out that he is not completely clear from injuries, going to the bench late in the first half with what was described as a hip-pointer. He iced the injury at halftime and had no problem returning to the game in the second half.

Starting in Lawson's absence, Quentin Thomas finished with eight points and four assists in 21 minutes.

Thomas, who had started just one career game before Lawson injury, was one of two seniors honored before the game.

"I tried to stay focused, but I couldn't help it just because I've been through so much, good and bad," Thomas said. "When I saw all those people with Q's and the signs with Q's, it just made me feel warm inside that I have people that supported me through all these four years."

"Well it was a fitting way for Q (Thomas) to go out," Williams said. "He made some big hoops for us in the second half. To go through, as I said earlier, all that young man has gone through, it was a great night for him. It was a great night for our team to make sure he went out the right way."

Rich finished with 27 points for Florida State, which shot 25 percent (6-of-24) on 3-pointers in seeing a three-game winning streak snapped.

Uche Echefu scored 14 points and Toney Douglas added 11 for the Seminoles, who were outrebounded, 41-26.