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December 27, 2007
No. 1 North Carolina handles Nevada
Ty Lawson had 16 points and a career-best 10 assists for the Tar Heels (12-0), who ran off 19 straight points spanning halftime to earn the latest in a series of lopsided victories.
North Carolina is off to its best start since winning 17 straight to open the 1997-98 season. And since a tough 72-68 win against Davidson to open the season, the Tar Heels' closest game was an 86-77 win at Kentucky on Dec. 1. They have also scored at least 100 points in five games.
Armon Johnson scored 23 points to lead the Wolf Pack (7-5), who had won five straight games and hung close with the Tar Heels until late in the first half. But that was before Lawson, a speedy sophomore, kicked North Carolina's offense into high gear.
The news wasn't all good for the Tar Heels. Reserve guard Bobby Frasor tore his left anterior cruciate ligament when he landed awkwardly on the sideline while making a steal midway through the second half. School spokesman Steve Kirschner said Frasor will be out for the season and will have surgery.
Lawson's layup off a turnover started the decisive run and gave the Tar Heels a 43-35 lead with 48 seconds left in the half. Then, after a tip-in by Alex Stepheson, Lawson struck again with a steal and a transition dunk.
Finally, he rebounded an airballed jumper and raced the length of the court - slowing just long enough to pass to Deon Thompson before getting the ball right back - for a layup just before the horn to make it 49-35.
The Tar Heels picked up where they left off to start the second half with Hansbrough's jumper over the 7-foot JaVale McGee. Lawson then assisted on a jumper from Ellington and scored again on a steal and layup before Ellington closed the spurt with a 3-pointer to make it 60-35 with 17 minutes left.
Nevada got no closer than 20 points the rest of the game.
Ellington didn't start for the first time this season after having travel problems that forced him to miss his flight back from Philadelphia and kept him out of practice. But he finished 8-for-12 from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range.
Lawson had six rebounds and five steals, while Hansbrough went 9-for-15 from the field and had eight rebounds.
North Carolina shot 54 percent for the game, including 9-for-18 from behind the arc, while taking a 45-33 rebounding advantage.
For more coverage of North Carolina, visit CarolinaBlue.com.