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Hansbrough returns as UNC beats pesky Santa Barbara

Nov 22, 2008 - 7:33 AM SANTA BARBARA, California (Ticker) -- Tyler Hansbrough made his season debut and had 13 points and seven rebounds as top-ranked North Carolina posted an 84-67 victory over pesky Santa Barbara on Friday.

Ty Lawson led six Tar Heels in double figures with 19 points and Wayne Ellington added 17 for North Carolina (3-0), which will participate in the Maui Invitational next week.

Last season's consensus National Player of the Year, Hansbrough returned after missing the first two games of his collegiate career with a stress reaction in his right shin. He shot 2-of-8 from the floor but made 9-of-10 from the foul line in 25 minutes.

With "The Thunderdome" rocking on every possession, Santa Barbara hung tough early on.

Paul Roemer made a pair of 3-pointers during an 11-0 run and the Gauchos held a 27-22 lead with 8:31 left in the first half.

Lawson answered with consecutive shots from the arc of his own and North Carolina established control with a 13-0 burst to take a 35-27 lead with five minutes left in the half. The Tar Heels carried a 45-37 advantage into the locker rooms.

A 7-0 burst early in the second half extended North Carolina's lead to 60-48, but Santa Barbara cut the deficit back down to seven on Sam Phippen's jumper with 10:53 remaining.

That would be as close as the Gauchos could get as the Tar Heels put the game out of reach with another 7-0 run late in the second half, giving North Carolina a 76-59 bulge with 2:32 remaining.

Deon Thompson had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Danny Green scored 11 and freshman Ed Davis added 10 for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina outrebounded Santa Barbara, 40-28, and forced 21 turnovers.

James Nunnally scored 22 points to lead Santa Barbara (1-2), which played a home game against the No. 1 team for the first time since 1991. Jesse Byrd was the only other Gauchos player in double figures with 12 points.