for this game

North Carolina hammers Arkansas

Mar 24, 2008 - 1:33 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- North Carolina is showing why it earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Wayne Ellington scored 20 points and Ty Lawson added 19 as the top-seeded Tar Heels mauled No. 9 Arkansas, 108-77, in a second-round matchup of the East Regional.

Tyler Hansbrough added 17 points for North Carolina (34-2), which shot 68 percent (44-of-65) in winning its 13th consecutive game and is averaging 110.5 points in the tournament.

"We were pretty doggone good, we really were," Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. "We are ecstatic to be one of the teams that are still playing."

The Tar Heels, who have not trailed in the NCAAs, moved on to a "Sweet 16" matchup with fourth-seeded Washington State on Thursday in Charlotte.

The Tar Heels blitzed Arkansas right out of the gate, scoring the first nine points and racing to an 18-4 lead as point guard Ty Lawson hit a pair of 3-pointers.

Lawson had missed six games with an ankle injury but appears to be healthy and ready to lead North Carolina's bid for a national title.

"Ty is like the engine to this team and makes us go," sophomore forward Deon Thompson said. "And his speed, I've never seen anyone so fast in basketball, and that's a lot of our play is to get up and down. So to have him at full strength is a big thing for us."

A 12-0 surged pushed the lead to 35-11 on a hook shot by Thompson, who made all his five attempts from the floor in the first half and finished with 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting.

Alex Stepheson came off the bench to provide 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting as the Tar Heels put five players in double figures.

"We talked earlier this week about Deon and Alex giving us something at the four spot and today they were 13-of-13," Williams said. "We talked about needing to make shots, and I think we did that."

Indeed, North Carolina opened the game by hitting 15 of its first 20 shots and built its biggest lead at 51-24 before a basket by Sonny Weems made it 51-26 at halftime.

"It's real tough to fall behind against a team like Carolina," Weems said. "They have great players and great post players and guards. They shot the ball real well tonight. Once we got down, it was hard for us to put together a run, and they are a great team, so compliments to them."

Arkansas never got the deficit under 20 points in the second half as the Tar Heels continued to pour it on. A layup by Lawson gave North Carolina its biggest lead at 103-67 before Williams called a timeout to clear his bench.

"Certainly a fantastic basketball team," Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey said. "Unbelievable year. Extremely well-coached, good players, and they played great today. Unfortunately for us, we couldn't do a whole lot to slow them down."

Washington State will be the next team to attempt to slow Carolina in what will be a major contrast of styles.

The Cougars have allowed a total of just 81 points in their two tourney wins and held fifth seed Notre Dame to 41 points in the second round.

"We don't think that winning two games in the NCAA Tournament is a huge success for us," swingman Marcus Ginyard said. "Coach just talked about it in the locker room; we have another two games to play next weekend, and that's what we are focused on right now.

"At this point, this game does not mean anything to us anymore. "We are trying to get ready for our next opponent.