for this game

Hansbrough helps UNC get first ACC win

Jan 16, 2009 - 5:58 AM CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Ticker) -- It took three games, but North Carolina finally played like the team everyone in the Atlantic Coast Conference was expecting.

Tyler Hansbrough had 28 points and 12 rebounds and Ty Lawson scored 19 and had nine assists as sixth-ranked North Carolina earned its first ACC win of the season with an 83-61 victory over Virginia on Thursday.

Danny Green and Wayne Ellington each scored 13 for the Tar Heels (15-2, 1-2 ACC), who had lost their first two conference games for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

"It's a long season," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "I never said that we were the best team in the country, that's what everybody else said - and the last three games everybody has acted like we're falling off the end of the earth. Somewhere in between is probably where we are.

"We've got to try and get better each and every practice and try to get better each and every game. I don't think the season is over just because we won today and I didn't think it was over because we lost on Sunday."

North Carolina came out with terrific defensive intensity and had better efficiency on offense, opening a 14-2 lead 5:06 into the game. Virginia missed eight of its first nine shots.

The Cavaliers answered with a 12-1 run to cut the deficit to 15-14, but the Tar Heels responded to push the lead back to 26-16 on Ellington's layup with 8:33 left in the first half.

North Carolina finished the half strong, making six of its final seven shots and held a 50-36 advantage at the break. The Tar Heels were 17-of-20 from the foul line over the opening 20 minutes.

"This stretch has been frustrating," Hansbrough said. "Tonight it was us playing like we know how to play and doing something things defensively and coming together as a team."

The Tar Heels continued to pour it on early in the second half as Lawson capped a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer to give the visitors a 62-38 bulge with 15:23 left to play.

"I'm not sure I've seen a better-dictated, orchestrated game from a point guard as I did today from Ty Lawson," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "We didn't play against him last year, but the way he managed the game, the way he pushed the ball every time, had us on our heels. As a result, we took ill-advised shots, off-balance shots. We talked about it. We showed it on film, but he was better than advertised today."

It was too much for Virginia to overcome as the Cavaliers never got closer than 16 the rest of the way.

Hansbrough finished 6-of-13 from the floor and 15-of-17 from the foul line, passing Duke's Christian Laettner for sixth on the all-time ACC scoring list with 2,465 points.

After committing 18 turnovers to just nine assists in Sunday's loss to Wake Forest, North Carolina finished with 21 assists and 10 turnovers against Virginia.

"One of the main reasons we have turned the ball over is because of carelessness or selfishness," Green said. "We wanted to cut down on turnovers. In order to do this, we had to cut down on the selfishness which led to a better effort as a team."

Jamil Tucker scored 12 points to pace the Cavaliers (7-7, 1-2), who shot 30.5 percent (25-of-82) from the floor, including 4-of-27 from the arc.

"Anytime you go 4-27, I can tell you a number of those are not in rhythm," Leitao said. "Rhythm is a lot of different things - whether a guy was open or not, whether a guy was balanced or not, whether it came at the appropriate time in the possession. I can tell you that a number of them were not the best shot that we could get for each possession."