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Top-ranked North Carolina closes out non-conference schedule

Jan 9, 2008 - 2:12 PM UNC Asheville (11-3) at No. 1 North Carolina (15-0) 7:00 pm EST

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) - Fresh off its closest game of the season in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener, top-ranked North Carolina closes out its non-conference schedule on Wednesday against North Carolina Asheville.

The Tar Heels have won their 14 non-conference games by an average of 23.6 points. North Carolina is 7-0 at home against non-ACC competition, averaging 99.4 points with an average margin of 31.8 points.

Junior forward Tyler Hansbrough continues to lead the Tar Heels in both scoring (21.7 points per game) and rebounding (9.9 per game). Sophomore guard Wayne Ellington, who hit a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in overtime to beat Clemson on Sunday, averages 18 points.

Sophomore guard Ty Lawson averages 13.2 points and a team-high 5.6 assists for North Carolina and junior swingman Danny Green, who has played in all 15 games, averages 12.6 points off the bench.

The Bulldogs are led offensively by senior guards Bryan Smithson (16.4 ppg) and K.J. Garland (16 ppg). Junior center Kenny George, who stands 7-foot-7 and weighs 360 pounds, has yet to make a start but averages 12.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and a nation-leading 5.4 blocks per game for Asheville.

Sophomore forward Alex Stepheson, who along with Hansbrough are the Tar Heels' biggest players at 6-9, will be back after missing two games due to a family illness. Averaging 4.8 rebounds, Stepheson is expected to see significant minutes defending against George.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams is an Asheville native and has a 5-0 all-time record against the Bulldogs. The Tar Heels have won all four previous meetings. Asheville is off to its best start in 23 years and is one victory shy of matching last year's win total.

    --- --- -----
    UNC ASHEVILLE 40 41 81
    NORTH CAROLINA (1) 53 40 93 FINAL

    Jan 9 8:58 PM


    Jan 9 7:47 PM