North Carolina routs Florida State behind Hansbrough

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- With every three-point play and painful trip to the free-throw line, Tyler Hansbrough powered North Carolina past Florida State.

He may have muscled the Tar Heels to No. 1 in the nation, too.

Hansbrough scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the second-ranked Tar Heels to an 84-58 victory over Florida State on Sunday night for their 11th straight win, one marked by the relentlessly aggressive low-post play that led to Hansbrough's "Psycho T" nickname.

"He was definitely into it, and that's what we need -- we need that fiery attitude," freshman Brandan Wright said. "Tyler, he plays his hardest all the time, and I really admire that from him."

Wright -- the other half of the Tar Heels' one-two interior punch -- had 20 points, and North Carolina (14-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) got the dominating victory it needed to perhaps ascend to the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2000-01 when the poll is released Monday.

"I don't like getting caught up in the rankings, but I think there's a lot of things I think we can do better and we're going to try to keep on improving," Hansbrough said.

The Tar Heels overcame Al Thornton's 29 points and 12 rebounds by shooting 47 percent and outrebounding the smaller Seminoles 47-35.

"This team is going to be a handful. The thing about Carolina is that they still probably, as young as they are, they've got an awful lot of room to improve," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "This may be the year we're glad we're not playing them but one time."

North Carolina took control with a 20-7 run late in the first half, then broke the game open by starting the second half on a 15-6 run that pushed the Tar Heels' lead into double figures to stay.

North Carolina, which remained perfect at home and has won nine of its 10 games at the Dean Smith Center by at least 12 points, made a strong case for taking over the top spot from UCLA, which was upset over the weekend by Oregon.

"It says that to this point in the year, we're doing all right," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I've been No. 1 before, and if you don't finish that way at the end of the year, it means you had a good little stretch, but it doesn't mean what people remember."

Jason Rich added 10 points for Florida State (12-4, 0-2), which has followed an eight-game winning streak with consecutive conference losses.

The Tar Heels won their fifth straight in the series, and this time they didn't need any last-second heroics.

In the teams' last meeting on Jan. 22, 2006, North Carolina won 81-80 on two late free throws by Reyshawn Terry and a missed last-gasp heave at the buzzer by Thornton.

This time, Hansbrough played a big part in both of North Carolina's significant spurts.

"Hansbrough kept moving, kept moving -- they handed off to him a couple of times, he got a few (baskets) on put-backs," Hamilton said. "They just kept pounding it in there."

Hansbrough scored five points during the Tar Heels' run late in the first half, starting the spurt by driving down the lane and dunking to put the Tar Heels ahead for good with a 14-13 lead.

"The team feeds off of it, the coach feeds off of it, the fans feed off of it -- it's great for the whole atmosphere," Wright said.

The run ended when Wes Miller's 3-pointer from the right wing made it 32-20 with 4:26 to go till halftime.

Then, Hansbrough scored eight points -- including a pair of three-point plays -- and the Tar Heels opened the second half with the run that put them up by double figures to stay.

"In the second half, things were going well, I got in a groove and just kept going at them aggressively," Hansbrough said. "It was a combination of my teammates giving me the ball and giving me good looks."

Danny Green's 3-pointer with 15:46 remaining ended the burst and gave North Carolina a 51-36 lead.

Florida State fell to 1-4 against ranked teams with its lone victory coming against defending national champion Florida on Dec. 3.