Ellington heats up in second half as UNC blasts MiamiJan 18, 2009 - 5:13 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Wayne Ellington finally found his groove for North Carolina.
Ellington scored all 23 of his points in the second half, making seven 3-pointers to help sixth-ranked North Carolina pull away for an 82-65 victory over Miami on Saturday.
Tyler Hansbrough scored 24 points and Ty Lawson had 11 and eight assists for the Tar Heels (15-2, 2-2 ACC), who have won back-to-back conference games after an 0-2 start.
"The last five minutes of the first half was crucial, then early in the second half we were still pretty good defensively, then Wayne got it going," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "It was fun to see that youngster have some success, it's been tough on him."
Miami got off to a strong start early, leading by as much as 32-23 with 6:48 left in the first half.
However, the Hurricanes would not score the rest of the session as the Tar Heels scored the final 13 points of the first half to take a 36-32 advantage at the break. Danny Green capped the run with a 3-pointer and Hansbrough had 20 first-half points to lead North Carolina.
Then Ellington took over.
Ellington's third consecutive 3-pointer of the half ignited a 10-0 run as North Carolina started to take control with 12:13 remaining, grabbing a 57-43 lead.
"I thought we competed," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "Obviously, Ellington got loose, fought our transition defense the first three he hit in the second half and then he got it going. I thought once they started making shots and Ellington made three in a row, we started going 1-on-1. We aren't good enough to do that, that's not who we are."
The junior shooting guard continued his assault from the arc, making three more 3-pointers, the last of which gave the Tar Heels a 68-48 bulge with 9:29 to play.
Miami (13-4, 2-2) never threatened the rest of the way, failing to come closer than 13 points.
Ellington finished 7-of-10 from the arc in the second half and shot 8-of-14 overall for his first 20-point game of the season. He had eight 20-point games last season.
"It felt good knocking them down," Ellington said. "It was good to have a game where I could build some confidence and get back in a groove. I was going to continue to take them. I have faith in the way I shoot the ball. Tonight just showed that if you stick with it, it can happen for you."
Jack McClinton scored 21 points to pace the Hurricanes, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.
"We just gotta move forward," Haith said. "One loss can't end a season. I sure hope that wouldn't happen to our program. We got a big game on Wednesday against Florida State and we gotta go to work."
North Carolina will try and climb over .500 in the ACC on Wednesday when it hosts previously unbeaten Clemson (16-1). The Tigers, who are 0-53 at North Carolina, fell to No. 3 Wake Forest earlier on Saturday.
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