for this game

Lawson, Hansbrough power North Carolina over Duke

Feb 12, 2009 - 7:12 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Ty Lawson gave Tyler Hansbrough a huge assist in one of college basketball's biggest rivalries.

Lawson scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half as third-ranked North Carolina unmistakably outmatched No. 5 Duke in a 101-87 victory in Wednesday's clash of Atlantic Coast Conference leaders.

Hansbrough had 17 points and Danny Green and Wayne Ellington added 15 each for the Tar Heels (22-2, 8-2 ACC), who won for the eighth straight time and took over sole possession of first place in the ACC.

"I said this week and I'll say it probably till I die," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I feel very lucky to be a part of this great rivalry. I feel that way win or lose. I felt that way last year at our place when they beat us.

"We try to tell our kids that it's just one game, if we lost they weren't going to make us stop and if we won they weren't going to give us a trophy. It's still a very happy locker room right now, there's no question about that, but we also realize that it's just one game, but we were really good in the second half."

Along with stepping up its drive for a third straight league title, North Carolina saw Hansbrough cement himself as a key figure in the huge rivalry, as he and Green both finished their careers with a 4-0 record at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

It is the first time that a Tar Heel player has done that in Mike Krzyzewski's 29 years as coach of the Blue Devils (20-4, 7-3).

"Each year it's been different," Hansbrough said. "Our freshman year, no one thought we could come in here and win. ... Tonight was one of those things where you didn't want to think about the record. We just wanted to come out and play."

"Everything is possible, but I certainly didn't count on it by any means," Williams said. "I did challenge our guys. I say one thing before Clemson every year. The streak is going to stop, but let's just put it off for another year. I've only been around a few of those."

Overall, North Carolina shot 55 percent (34-of-62) from the field and converted 87 percent (27-of-31) of its free throws in becoming the first team to score 100 points on Duke in a span of 457 games. UCLA last did it back on February 26, 1995.

"(North Carolina) played a great game," Krzyzewski said. "I thought our kids played their butts off. Our guys were ready to play, but I thought Carolina had an A-plus game tonight. They were incredibly efficient offensively, from the field, from the foul line, to get that many points with that amount of shots. And Lawson was great. Lawson was a pro tonight."

UNC started strong, building a 10-point lead less than six minutes into the contest. However, Duke rallied with a 16-3 run, going on to own a 52-44 lead at the half.

While the Blue Devils caught fire offensively, it was their inability to contain Lawson in the second half that knocked them down.

Lawson finished 8-of-11 from the field and 9-of-9 from the line as the Tar Heels went on to outscore the Blue Devils by a 57-35 margin in the second half.

"Somebody would say that's probably an oxymoron, but I think it is true," Williams said of Lawson being both patient and aggressive after halftime. "He was patient until he saw an opening and then he tried to take it. I think that was it.

"You're not going to get the open looks. I think for us we hoped we would get better defensively. We didn't show it in the first half, but we were better in the second half."

Duke still held a 63-60 edge with 13:55 remaining after a layup by Nolan Smith, but its cushion disappeared quickly as UNC went on a 13-4 run.

Ellington started the burst with a jumper and also hit a 3-pointer during the run, which was capped on a layup by freshman Ed Davis that made it 73-67 with 9:14 left.

Lawson, who had four points on the spurt, added a jumper and a layup on back-to-back possession to extend the lead to 78-71 with 7:12 to play. That sequence was the start of a 14-0 run in which the Tar Heels opened up a 17-point cushion with 3:43 left.

"We don't mind playing fast, but they know how to play fast real well," Krzyzewski said. "The worst thing for us would be to try to slow it completely down, and put the kids in a position where they are hesitant. You can't win being hesitant."

Lawson finished with nine points on the run, including a three-point play that capped it.

The Blue Devils did attempt to make it interesting down the stretch, slicing the deficit to 92-84 with 1:25 to play behind a 13-4 spurt.

However, UNC was able to go back ahead by double digits with numerous trips to the foul line, converting 7-of-8 free throws in the closing 68 seconds.

Kyle Singler scored 22 points and Jon Scheyer 20 for Duke, which dropped its third straight game to a ranked opponent.