CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Roy Williams sat stiffly on the
sideline, barely able to move because of a bad back.
At least Tyler Hansbrough gave his coach something to feel good
The freshman scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half
Wednesday night to lead North Carolina (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) past Saint Louis
75-63, giving the Tar Heels a solid follow-up to their weekend
upset of Kentucky.
Anthony Drejaj had 16 points to lead Saint Louis (3-3), which
led by three points at halftime but had no answer for Hansbrough
after the break.
The 6-foot-9 forward -- who came into the game averaging a
team-high 15 points and eight rebounds -- went 7-for-8 from the
field in the second half and sparked a 13-0 run that erased a 34-31
"I think our intensity as a team picked up and I kind of fed
off that," Hansbrough said. "In the second half, things were
flowing a whole lot better and I got a lot more movement and got
myself open a lot more."
His performance was at least some kind of get-well present for
Williams, who threw out his back when he leaned over to pick up a
pair of shoes at home Wednesday morning.
Williams spent much of the morning in bed and even considered
not coaching the game. He roamed the sideline gingerly and sat on a
raised black stool between his bench and the scorer's table for
much of the game. That kept him upright and prevented him from
having to move too much.
He occasionally got up to shout instructions, walk the sideline
or talk to a player on the bench in the first half -- though he
wasn't about to lean forward to do it. He even struggled with his
pregame tradition of throwing Carolina blue T-shirts to the
students near the bench; he managed only to hand two shirts to fans
on the front row and lightly tossed two more underhanded into the
"It was probably the most frustrating night I've ever had
because I didn't feel like I was giving the club very much,"
Williams said. "I had a big dilemma in my mind whether or not I
should stay in the locker room and let them play."
But as the game went on and the young Tar Heels found themselves
in a tight contest, the coach became more animated on the sideline.
His team eventually responded by playing with more second-half
intensity, particularly Hansbrough.
"For him to come out and coach tonight under those
circumstances -- he was really hurting, I know y'all could see it --
it just proved a lot to us," said reserve Wes Miller, who hit two
"We know that no matter what the situation, no matter what the
circumstance, Coach Williams is going to give it all he has and
that's pretty darn good."
Hansbrough got off to a quick start after the break, attacking
the bigger Ian Vouyoukas inside. He scored three baskets on the Tar
Heels' first four possessions of the second half -- knocking down
two hook shots before powering over Vouyoukas for a basket and a
foul -- before Terry ended the run with a 3 for a 44-34 lead with
"It was obvious Coach Williams told them at halftime, 'We are
going into the post, no matter what," Saint Louis coach Brad
While Saint Louis answered with an 11-point run of its own to
take a brief lead, the Tar Heels went ahead to stay when Noel found
Terry for a reverse layup and a 46-45 lead with 13:11 left.
From there, the inexperienced Tar Heels performed more like a
veteran team, answering runs from the Billikens with big baskets of
their own. Miller hit two key straightaway 3s -- one with his team
holding a one-point lead -- and Hansbrough added a hanging layup off
a screen-and-roll feed from Bobby Frasor for a three-point play and
a 64-58 lead with 4:06 left.
The Tar Heels gradually increased that lead, with Hansbrough
slamming down a rebound of a missed shot by Frasor for a 73-60 lead
with 1:06 left.
"They showed why they're a ranked team despite being so
young," Soderberg said. "I think they reflect Coach Williams'
poise. They look to him and know he's been through about
everything, so they have no reason to get rattled."