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UNC sweeps Duke, wins ACC title

Mar 9, 2009 - 12:58 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Tyler Hansbrough had 17 points and eight rebounds and Wayne Ellington scored 16 as second-ranked North Carolina claimed the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title with a 79-71 victory over No. 7 Duke on Sunday.

Ty Lawson added 13 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Tar Heels (27-3, 13-3 ACC), who have won six of the last eight meetings with the Blue Devils.

North Carolina had a sizable advantage on the boards (37-22) and shot 53 percent (28-of-53) from the floor but still had to hang on down the stretch.

"Our work on the backboards was big for us," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "The first half we had seven offensive rebounds and they only had three, but we had the same number of points. I thought we were better the second half. We shot the ball pretty well."

Ellington made a 3-pointer and Lawson connected on a pair from the line to give the Tar Heels a 55-48 lead with 12:44 left.

Duke fought back to cut the deficit to two on Jon Scheyer's 3-pointer with 3:22 to play, but Danny Green responded with a shot from the arc to give North Carolina a 73-68 advantage on the Tar Heels' next possession.

With UNC still clinging to a four-point lead, Lawson supplied the knockout blow as he converted a three-point play on a driving layup with 1:03 on the clock. The play pushed the Tar Heels' lead to 76-69, and Bobby Frasor got a jump ball with the possession arrow pointing to North Carolina on Duke's next trip down the court.

"It got down to one possession in the last few minutes and they had three huge plays," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our kids can make plays and their kids can make plays and their kids made them. I thought the three-point play by (Deon) Thompson, 3-point shot by Green and three-point play by Lawson - those three exchanges were what won the game."

Lawson, who was questionable coming into the game with a toe injury, added a pair of free throws to give the Tar Heels a nine-point lead with 51 seconds to play and the Blue Devils never threatened again.

"I did not know until I came over here today if he would be ready to play," Williams said. "(Saturday) he tried to jog up and down the floor and that's all he could do. If we had played the game (Saturday) he would not have played at all."

Scheyer scored 24 points, making all seven of his shots from the floor, and Kyle Singler had 23 to pace the Blue Devils (25-6, 11-5).