(2) North Carolina 69

(10-1, 2-0 away)

Saint Louis 48

(9-3, 7-1 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 22, 2006

    Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

    1 2 T
    #2UNC 27 4269
    SLU 26 2248

    Top Performers

    North Carolina: T. Lawson 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Saint Louis: I. Vouyoukas 14 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Blk

    Hansbrough homecoming a success with UNC win

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tyler Hansbrough was greeted by his grandmother as he walked off the team bus, spent some time visiting with his brothers and sisters, and then got to work.

    North Carolina's star sophomore forward had 15 points and matched his career best with 13 rebounds, making his homecoming a big success in the second-ranked Tar Heels' 69-48 victory over Saint Louis on Friday night.

    "It's a lot of pressure on a youngster to come back home and have half the town up here from Poplar Bluff," coach Roy Williams said. "Everybody expected him to score 80 and get every rebound and shut out his man."

    Danny Green added 14 points and Brandan Wright and Ty Lawson each had 12 for the Tar Heels (10-1), who pulled away from a one-point halftime lead. The result was a convincing win in the program's first game in St. Louis since Williams led them to the NCAA title here in 2005.

    The game drew a record sellout crowd of 22,539 to the Scottrade Center, and it was bolstered by several thousand Carolina-blue wearing faithful that nearly turned it into a neutral site. Among the crowd were about 3,000 fans from Hansbrough's hometown of Poplar Bluff, Mo., a town of about 16,000 near the Missouri boot heel.

    "A lot of people who watched me in high school got a chance to see me play in college, which is really great for them," Hansbrough said. "I'm really glad we got to come here and play."

    All the visiting fans did not surprise the Billikens, who lost for the first time in six home games.

    "I guess we kind of expected it with Hansbrough coming back so close to his hometown," guard Kevin Lisch said.

    Ian Vouyoukas had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Saint Louis (9-3). He guarded Hansbrough much of the game, getting help from double- and triple-teaming near the basket.

    Vouyoukas thought Hansbrough got help from the officials.

    "I think if he was a normal player he would have fouled out about three times," Vouyoukas said. "He's untouchable, apparently."

    Hansbrough hoped his homecoming wouldn't be a distraction and he helped settle down North Carolina, scoring on a putback on the third shot of a possession after the Tar Heels had missed their first six shots combined with two turnovers. He earned his third double-double.

    Saint Louis led by as many as six points in the first half before North Carolina began to assert itself. The Tar Heels led 27-26 at halftime and were ahead by two points three minutes into the second half before going on an 18-4 run.

    Two straight baskets by Reyshawn Terry finished off the run that made it 52-36 with 9:19 to go. The lead was at double digits the rest of the way for North Carolina, which shot 29 percent in the first half and 57 percent thereafter.

    "Let's be honest, we got it going pretty good and they missed some shots," Williams said. "They're a team that's going to be reckoned with in conference and at the end of the season has a chance of playing again."

    Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg said North Carolina's depth wore down his team.

    "We couldn't stop them in the second half," Soderberg said. "That was the grounds for my frustration."

    Tommie Liddell added 13 points for Saint Louis, which shot only 36.5 percent and was 1-for-11 from 3-point range. North Carolina finished with a 41-31 rebound advantage.

    North Carolina trailed at home at halftime last December against Saint Louis before winning 75-63, and needed a strong finish to avoid it happening again. The Tar Heels ended the half on a 9-2 run capped by Wright's three-point play with 1:26 to go that made it 27-26.

    The game was Saint Louis' first sellout since a 78-64 victory over Kansas on Dec. 23, 1998, which produced the previous record attendance of 22,527.

    Williams won his only NCAA title at the crosstown Edward Jones Dome, beating Illinois in the final.

    "I love the town," Williams said. "We've had some big games here."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 69 48
    FG Made-Attempted 25-59 (.424) 19-52 (.365)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-15 (.467) 1-11 (.091)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-18 (.667) 9-11 (.818)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 21 6

    2006-07 Season

    » Dec 22, 2006 UNC 69, @SLU 48Recap