for this game

Ellington, North Carolina breeze by Virginia

Feb 8, 2009 - 1:14 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- With a meeting against its arch-rival looming, North Carolina shrugged off a slow start to take down an ACC bottom-feeder.

Wayne Ellington scored 20 points and Tyler Hansbrough recorded another double-double to lift fourth-ranked North Carolina to a 76-61 victory over Virginia on Saturday.

Hansbrough collected 15 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season, Danny Green scored 17 and Ty Lawson fell one assist shy of his own double-double, recording 10 points and nine assists.

North Carolina (21-2, 7-2 ACC) travels to Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday to take on Duke but may have been caught looking ahead in this one early on.

"It was an unusual game because in the first half it was like pulling teeth," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We could not get a shot to go in - yet I thought we were doing well on the defensive end, but just could not make anything."

The Cavaliers (7-12, 1-7) were within striking distance throughout the opening 20 minutes before the Tar Heels closed the half on a 9-2 run to open a 33-25 halftime edge.

"It took us a minute," Ellington said. "We came out and we weren't making as many shots. It was nothing like last game when we came out, but we stepped up on the defensive end of the floor, and that's what's important for us."

The Tar Heels followed a season-high performance from behind the arc with another respectable day from long range, knocking down 9-of-25 attempts. North Carolina made 16 3-pointers in Tuesday's 108-91 over Maryland.

Ellington, who also had six rebounds and six assists in this one, made seven 3-pointers against the Terrapins and added four more against Virginia. After not breaking the 20-point mark in any of his first 17 games, the junior has done so in four of his last six.

"When guys like that are making shots, it's hard (for the defense) to put a lot of guys inside, and it makes the defense spread out and guard everybody," Hansbrough said.

The Tar Heels took control in the second half as Ellington opened with a basket from the arc. North Carolina scored the first seven points to open a double-digit lead it would hold the rest of the way.

"Obviously when you play a great team on their court, you have to play relatively mistake free," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "You can miss a couple shots, you can make a few fouls but you're going to have to make the plays that are available to you. I'll have to look at the film, but I don't know that we did that over the course of 40 minutes to put ourselves in the position to be successful."

The win sets the stage for a matchup with the Blue Devils, who escaped with a 78-73 overtime win against Miami on Saturday. Along with Clemson, the two are tied in the loss column at the top of the ACC standings.

"It's going to be extremely competitive, with a lot of focus in the practices that we have coming up," Green said of the matchup. "We do a lot of preparation for these types of games."

Jeff Jones scored 19 points off the bench and Sylven Landesberg had 16 to lead the Cavaliers, who have lost seven in a row.