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December 12, 2009

Davis, Thompson lead UNC in blowout of Presbyterian College

CHAPEL HILL - It might have been exam week, but even with a seriously depleted backcourt, North Carolina didn't get much of a test against Presbyterian College.

The 11th-ranked Tar Heels got a double-double from sophomore forward Ed Davis as they jumped out to a big lead early and rolled the Blue Hose 103-64 despite being without starting guard Marcus Ginyard and backup point guard Dexter Strickland.

"We had terrible practices Thursday and Friday, so I challenged (the players) to get more out of this game than they did any of the practices we had the last few days," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "And I think we did."

The Tar Heels (8-2) hit the 100-point mark with more than two minutes remaining, getting a rise out of the crowd.

With the game decided well before halftime, a good portion of the excitement in the second half came when a fan yelled during a Deon Thompson free throw and UNC coach Roy Williams sent police up into the crowd to remove the man, who was wearing a Presbyterian shirt.

"That's some head honcho stuff right there," said UNC point guard Larry Drew II, who had nine assists and one turnover.

The mini-drama began around the 5-minute mark, when the fan yelled, "Miss it, Deon!" from high in the lower level behind Carolina's bench.

"I heard him, but it didn't really bother me," said Thompson, who hit the free throws for two of his 19 points. "Coach has a lot of pull around here. That's typical coach. It's something he would do in that situation."

Pressed as to whether there was any profanity used by the heckling fan, Williams refused to answer. Athletics department spokesman Steve Kirschner said the fan had already changed seats several times and police believed him to be intoxicated.

"I don't think anyone should yell anything negative at our players, period," Williams said.

The game itself lacked any such intrigue after the opening minutes.

Carolina began the game on a 16-1 run and were up 24-5 by the second media timeout.

Williams made a five-for-five substitution when things started getting a little sloppy offensively - including several bad 3-point attempts - with UNC up 51-18 with two minutes to go in the first half.

But again, it was all but over by halftime anyway, when Carolina went to the locker room with a 56-21 edge.

"They can just hurt you in so many ways," Presbyterian coach Gregg Nibert said. "Even losing Ginyard, they didn't miss a beat. We were a little shell-shocked to begin the game."

Ginyard was held out as a precaution after some experiencing some "early" pain in his left foot in an area unrelated to the stress fracture he had last year in his fifth left metatarsal. He had missed the three practices leading up to this game.

Sophomore Justin Watts started in Ginyard's place, finishing with nine points and four rebounds. He had a couple of key offensive rebounds in the opening minutes that helped Carolina jump out to its big lead.

"It was a rush of adrenaline and excitement, but I didn't want to get too overwhelmed," Watts said. "When you start the game, you have to start off with a little more spark."

Strickland, who had a sore left hamstring, was a game-time scratch. He felt a pop in his leg after a dunk the previous day at practice and still had swelling, so UNC held him out as a precaution.

The result was an altered lineup that included more minutes for freshman Leslie McDonald and senior walk-on Marc Campbell, who combined for 10 points and five assists.

And not surprisingly, the Tar Heels got 50 of their points in the paint.

"Our focus is always to get the ball inside," Davis said. "We knew they weren't as gifted as we were, so we had to go execute."



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