UNC avenges last season's loss, spanks Santa Clara

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Bobby Frasor wasn't around when Santa Clara beat North Carolina in a stunning start to the Tar Heels'
national championship season.

Still, helping them avenge the loss had to feel pretty good for the freshman.

Frasor scored 13 points as part of a balanced effort that helped lead North Carolina (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) past Santa Clara 76-58 on Saturday night, giving the Tar Heels a successful return from a 10-day break from exams.

Fellow freshman Tyler Hansbrough scored a team-high 14 points for the Tar Heels (6-1), while Reyshawn Terry scored eight of his 13 points during a key second-half run to help North Carolina pull away for its third straight win.

Travis Niesen had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Broncos (4-4).

In last year's meeting, Santa Clara led by as many as 19 points in the second half and got 26 points from Niesen in the 77-66 win, only the Tar Heels' fifth season-opening loss since 1930. The Tar Heels, who played without suspended point guard Raymond Felton, went on to win their fourth NCAA championship.

Not that last year's stunner really mattered to this year's Tar Heels, considering they lost their top seven scorers from the title team. Only four players from this year's group even played in that game, with David Noel and Quentin Thomas combining for six points.

"In reality, all those guys are gone, so you can't say it's revenge," said Frasor, who had five rebounds and four assists. "It's a completely new team."

But freshmen Frasor, Hansbrough and Danny Green (12 points) got a history lesson anyway before the game. The team opened its film
session with a clip that showed the final score and a Santa Clara player holding up the front of his jersey in celebration.

"It's a new year, but it definitely means something," said Hansbrough, who hit all five of his shots. "For them to beat us last year, you don't want to be beaten twice by them. It was a big factor for some of the guys that played on the team last year."

Guys like Noel, who scored 11 points and played shutdown defense on Niesen in the second half.

"It was definitely satisfying for us to come get the win," he said, "especially after last year."

The Tar Heels came in holding opponents to 44 percent shooting on the season, and they held Santa Clara to 34 percent. They also forced 15 turnovers, had nine steals and blocked five shots -- a solid defensive effort that even had the approval of hard-to-please coach Roy Williams.

The results were particularly frustrating for Niesen, who found Noel in his face at every turn. He scored 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting in the first half but went 1-for-9 in the second half.

"I basically just tried to keep him away from the basket," Noel said. "In the second half, I kind of pressured him a little bit and I got help from my teammates."

It was just part of a tough day for the 6-foot-7 senior, who was booed by the crowd every time he touched the ball after throwing it forcefully off Noel while trying to save it in the first half. He also picked up a technical foul midway through the second half after continuing to fight for a jump ball with Hansbrough after the whistle while the two were on the floor.

"He was getting double-teammed a lot," Broncos coach Dick Davey said. "That put a burden on him a little bit. But, if some of our other guys would start shooting the ball a little better, it would be easier on him."

Behind Noel, the Tar Heels held the Broncos to four field goals over an eight-minute span and used a 25-9 run to take a 19-point lead. North Carolina also helped itself by getting to the foul line, shooting 16-for-24 in the second half and 20-for-28 in the game.

Leading 35-32 with 16:33 left, the Tar Heels started their run with a three-point play from Green. Terry hit a 3-pointer and two free throws to make it 52-37 and, after a three-point play by Frasor, Terry closed the run with another 3 for a 60-41 lead with
8:15 to play.

The Tar Heels maintained a double-digit the rest of the way.

Thomas returned after missing the past three games with a stress fracture in his left foot. The sophomore point guard finished with three rebounds and an assist in 10 minutes.