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January 12, 2008

Carolina uses defense to stifle N.C. State in blowout

CHAPEL HILL - Normally, North Carolina's players and coaches place a post-game meal order before tipoff.

But there was only one thing UNC coach Roy Williams wanted against N.C. State, and it wasn't on any restaurant menu.

"He said he'd rather beat State than eat," forward Marcus Ginyard said. "So he didn't order anything."

Williams still ended up satisfied, if a little hungry, as his No. 1-ranked Tar Heels blew out the Wolfpack 93-62 in front of a sellout crowd.

"It says a lot about Coach Williams and how much he wants to win," UNC point guard Ty Lawson said. "I'm going to have my sandwich."

Carolina (17-0, 2-0 in the ACC) opened up a 30-point lead by halftime on the way to matching its best start to a season since 1997-98.

Williams wanted to see better defense from his team than he had in a couple of lackluster efforts leading up to this rivalry game.

He certainly got it in the first half.

The Tar Heels broke a 9-9 tie with a 32-2 run, holding N.C. State (11-4, 0-1) without a field goal for more than 10 minutes at one point.

"I was real pleased with how we swarmed the ball," Williams said. "When we do what we're supposed to do, we're pretty doggone good."

The Wolfpack missed 18 shots in a row and 19 of its last 20 in the first half and went to the locker room shooting 17.6 percent.

UNC had more blocked shots (eight) - including three apiece for Danny Green and Deon Thompson - than State had field goals (six) in the half.

"I'm kind of speechless," N.C. State forward Ben McCauley said. "I didn't see that coming. I thought we were much better than that."

Carolina only shot 43 percent in the first half but had 12 offensive rebounds, including five from Tyler Hansbrough, and went to the locker room leading 43-13 at halftime.

The 30-point halftime lead prompted a chant of "Not our rivals!" from the Smith Center crowd.

The Wolfpack's 13 points were the second-fewest allowed in a half by North Carolina in the last 29 years.

Despite allowing the Wolfpack to shoot 58 percent in the second half, the Tar Heels never had any doubt about the outcome after building the early advantage.

It was Carolina's biggest margin of victory against N.C. State since a 104-58 win in 1993.

Five Tar Heels were in double figures, led by a career-high 16 points from Thompson.

Green had his second career double-double, scoring 13 points, blocking four shots, dishing six assists and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds off the bench. Six of those rebounds came at the offensive end.

"He's so versatile," Thompson said. "He can do almost anything."

Williams said that Hansbrough "didn't play very well," but the big man still had 13 points and 13 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

And with seven points off free throws, Hansbrough passed four ACC legends in career made free throws, moving past Duke's Art Heyman and Grant Hill (558 each), and North Carolina's Phil Ford (560) and Sam Perkins (561).

Hansbrough now has 564 made free throws in his career, which ties him with Duke's Jim Spanarkel for 14th place in ACC history.

Lawson sprained his ankle in the first half but came back to score 16 points behind a career-high four 3-pointers.

"I told him he wasn't any better looking than he was last year, but he was tougher," Williams said. "He came back out and did a good job for us."

The Tar Heels scored all but one of their 15 first-half field goals in the paint and finished the game with 27 assists on 36 baskets.

"Early in the season, we were a little more one-on-one than we are now," Williams said. "I think we're getting more into team play. In the open court, we're pretty doggone good."


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