for this game

Lawson's buzzer-beater lifts North Carolina past Florida St

Jan 29, 2009 - 6:45 AM TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- With North Carolina surprisingly in danger of losing for the third time in conference play, Ty Lawson came up with an improbable shot.

Lawson's running 3-pointer at the buzzer helped sixth-ranked North Carolina avoid an upset with an 80-77 victory over Florida State in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest on Wednesday.

Florida State led by three late in the game but Danny Green's steal led to a layup with the foul and North Carolina tied the score at 77-77 with 1:12 remaining. Toney Douglas missed on a pair of jumpers to give the Seminoles the lead, giving North Carolina the ball under its own basket with just over three seconds to play.

Easily the fastest player on the court, Lawson received the pass near the top of the key and ran down court before tossing up the shot on the run - from a step behind the 3-point line - just before the buzzer.

"It's the most mixed emotions I've ever had after a game," North Carolina coach Roy Williams told the Tallahassee Democrat. "I'm so proud of the things we did at the end of the game - get a steal, hit a layup and get fouled - but also, how lucky we were.

"Needless to say though it was very lucky and very fortunate for us that (Lawson's shot) went in."

Lawson finished with 21 points to pace North Carolina (18-2, 4-2 ACC), which won its fourth straight game.

Douglas scored a season-high 32 points, including the last 11 for his team to lead the Seminoles (16-5, 3-3).

"After the game I cried my tears out. I was hurting so bad," Douglas told the newspaper. "I thought we deserved to win that game, but it didn't go our way."

The preseason favorite to win the national championship, North Carolina was in trouble of dropping its third conference game throughout the latter stages of the second half.

After trailing by as many as 13 after the break, Florida State roared back as North Carolina seemed to be going too fast for its own good, leading to numerous turnovers and easy hoops the other way.

Chris Singleton hit a key 3-pointer and Douglas made a pair of free throws to cap an 11-0 run as the Seminoles surged ahead, taking a 68-63 lead with 6:34 remaining.

The Tar Heels fought back and Lawson's layup tied the score at 69-69 with 5:13 to play before the teams traded baskets down the stretch.

"Sometimes it's not so much what we didn't do. They just did a good job of defending down the stretch," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton told the Democrat. "They made a couple of great plays. Unfortunately they made one more good play than we did."

Green finished with 20 points and six steals, while Tyler Hansbrough, who battled foul trouble, was limited to a season-low eight in 26 minutes.

North Carolina shot 38 percent (24-of-63) and committed 21 turnovers.