Lawson up and down, but UNC sky-high

March, 21, 2009
03/21/09
6:45
PM ET
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- There were times when Ty Lawson looked 100 percent, like when he zipped down the court off a steal from Danny Green for an uncontested layup that put the Tar Heels ahead 29-22 and was the peak of a momentum swing. Then there were times when he simply looked like he was in pain. With 10:36 left in the first half, the right shoe came off. Then it was back on. Then it was off. Lawson took a seat at the end of the bench while the UNC staff checked out his injured right big toe. He winced, and covered his head with his towel. Minutes later, though, in the midst of UNC's 8-0 run that elicited a deafening roar from Tar Heels' fans, Lawson pounded his chest with confidence and seemed invincible.

The difference in the game that UNC led 38-29 at the half, though, has not been Lawson. It's been UNC's ability to score in the paint and dictate the pace, and their relentless pursuit of every loose ball. The Tar Heels have picked the ball off five times, and LSU has eight turnovers. The shots just aren't falling for the Tigers, who shot 40 percent in the first half (12-of-30). Guard Marcus Thornton is 3-of-9 from the field for seven points, and Tasmin Mitchell is the lone scorer in double figures with 10. If LSU is going to stay within 10, they're going to have to do exactly what coach Trent Johnson had planned: "Run like hell."

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