It was an exciting, back-and-forth game until late in the second half, when the Tar Heels used a 16-2 run to go ahead 80-65 and finally put some distance between themselves and the SEC champs. Lawson scored seven points during that stretch. After a shaky start that included a seat on the bench so the team trainer could check out his toe, Lawson came alive in the second half, scoring 21 of his 23 points.
He raised his arms in the air to get the crowd into it, but he didn't need to. They were already on their feet. And for the first time in four games, Lawson got a standing ovation and a pat on the back from coach Roy Williams as he left the court with one minute left to play.