7:00 PM ET, December 19, 2006
Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Not even hard-to-please coach Roy Williams could find much fault with North Carolina's near-perfect first half.Tyler Hansbrough scored 20 points and the second-ranked Tar Heels led by a school-record 47 points at halftime of a 105-52 rout of outmanned Florida Atlantic on Tuesday night."I loved our intensity in the first half, I loved our attention to detail and I loved just about everything we did," Williams said -- a departure from his tone after his team's not-good-enough recent wins over Kentucky and North Carolina-Asheville.Brandan Wright added 15 points and Reyshawn Terry and Wayne Ellington each had 14 for the Tar Heels (9-1), who won their sixth straight and reached 100 points for the fourth time this season."It was just one of those nights when everything seemed to be falling for us," Hansbrough said.North Carolina shot 74 percent from the field and scored 24 straight points in the first half. Ellington's 25-footer at the buzzer made it 65-18, surpassing a 21-year-old school record and leaving Williams with little to nitpick."He actually didn't have much to complain about. He just pointed out a couple of things to us, but not much complaining," Ellington said. "It's not weird -- it feels good that we're making some big strides and taking steps in the right direction."The final 53-point margin fell well shy of North Carolina's school-record 84 set in a 129-45 victory over Manhattan in 1985 -- the same game the Tar Heels led at the half by a then-school-record 43 points (67-24). It was the Owls' most lopsided loss since a school-record 58-point defeat (100-42) at Florida in 2000."They had a difficult time completing passes and getting looks at all in the first half," Williams said.Ty Lawson added 11 points for the Tar Heels, whose five starters each reached double figures for the first time this season.This rout came at the expense of one of Williams' former players. Owls coach Rex Walters played two seasons for Williams at Kansas and led the Jayhawks to consecutive Big Eight titles in 1992 and '93 and one Final Four."I told [Walters] it was hard, but try to be positive," Williams said. "You guys have no idea what it's like to coach a youngster that gave you every ounce of his heart, body and soul and then see him down on the other end of the bench. He didn't have the weapons we had."Afterward, Walters seemed almost upset that he let his mentor down with his team's poor performance."I hope [North Carolina] got something out of this," Walters said. "Every day I live, I try to make him proud."The Tar Heels' almost-perfect half saw them make 20-of-27 shots from the field, hit 22-of-24 free throws and outrebound the overmatched Owls 22-6.The Tar Heels held Florida Atlantic scoreless for about an eight-minute stretch, and by the time Wright ended the 24-0 burst with a dunk midway through the half, North Carolina led 34-5.Meanwhile, the hapless Owls missed all eight of their shots and turned it over nine times during that miserable stretch and never came close to recovering."It hurt us trying to come out and play man-to-man defense, trying to come out and run some of our stuff -- which I know that they know, because it's the same stuff that they run," Walters said. "They just do it at a higher level."Ellington's buzzer-beater ended the Tar Heels' highest-scoring half since they had 68 in the second half against George Mason on Dec. 7, 2003.It was also the fewest points allowed in a half by North Carolina since Brigham Young managed 18 in November 2004 in the Maui Invitational."Games like this, you try not to look at the scoreboard," Ellington said.DeAndre Rice had 13 points and Jeff Parmer had 11 for Florida Atlantic, which was without its leading scorer. Paul Graham, who has scored at least 13 points in every game this season, sat out after injuring an ankle in last week's win over Troy.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
|» Dec 19, 2006||@UNC 105, FAU 52||Recap|