UNC win sets up 1-vs.-2 showdown in South
No. 1 seed North Carolina blasted No. 4 seed Gonzaga 98-77 in Friday night's semifinal, setting up a showdown for the Tar Heels against No. 2 seed Oklahoma in Sunday's Elite Eight final.
Of course, the final game of the South Region will be a showdown between Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin, the favorite for national player of the year, and UNC forward Tyler Hansbrough, the first four-time first-team All-American in ACC history.
Gonzaga couldn't slow down the Tar Heels from the opening tip, and UNC blew open the game shortly after halftime. Hansbrough scored 24 points on 8-for-10 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Guard Wayne Ellington scored 19 points with seven rebounds, and point guard Ty Lawson had 19 points with nine assists and four rebounds.
Lawson, who complained of throbbing pain in his injured right toe earlier this week, showed no signs of problems against Gonzaga. He shot 7-for-9 from the floor, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. He had only one turnover in 27 minutes.
The Tar Heels made 11 of 19 3-point attempts in the game.
Gonzaga cut UNC's lead to 11 points with about eight minutes to play, but UNC guard Bobby Frasor made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, and then Ellington made a 3-point play to push the Tar Heels' cushion back to 20.
Oklahoma routed No. 3 seed Syracuse 84-71 in the earlier game Friday night, with Griffin scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.