Radford vs North Carolina

Heels cruise over Radford without Lawson; Hansbrough sets ACC mark


South Regional | Edge: UNC-LSU

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Tyler Hansbrough heard the roar of the crowd and knew he had just become the leading scorer in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

His response? Just run down court and get back on defense.

 Parrish: Lawson says he's ready to go

"I thought about waving," he said, "but I just wanted to stay focused on the game."

Whether he liked it or not, Hansbrough's latest record overshadowed North Carolina's 101-58 win over Radford to open the NCAA tournament on Thursday. He finished with 22 points despite a bad shooting day, part of an overwhelming performance by the top-seeded Tar Heels in the first step in what they hope will be a return to the Final Four.

Wayne Ellington had 25 points for the Tar Heels (29-4), who led the entire way and had no trouble beating the 16th-seeded Highlanders even with point guard Ty Lawson, who missed his third straight game with a toe injury.

It was another easy tournament opener for the Tar Heels in their home state, where they are 26-1 in NCAA games with the past 11 victories coming by double-digit margins. They next face LSU on Saturday in the South Region.

Playing about an hour drive from its Chapel Hill campus, North Carolina enjoyed a huge home-crowd advantage and built a 19-point halftime lead against Radford (21-12). The Tar Heels steadily increased the margin from there, cracking the 100-point mark in their NCAA opener for the second straight season.

"We played the first half really, really well," coach Roy Williams said. "The pace of the game, and the number of big guys that we could run in there perhaps tired them out a little bit. That's what we try to do all the time, try to make the pace and stamina a question mark."

There were plenty of positives, from a strong bounceback performance for Danny Green to the solid play of senior Bobby Frasor in Lawson's absence. But on this day, the focus came back to Hansbrough, who has made breaking records seem commonplace in his final college season.

The reigning national player of the year came in with 2,767 points and needed three to pass Duke's J.J. Redick for the ACC record. The 6-foot-9 senior missed his first two shots before tying Redick on a layup about 3½ minutes in, then broke the record on a free throw with 15:43 left in the first half.

The record wasn't announced, but the crowd -- packed with fans wearing light blue -- knew immediately when it happened. Besides the cheers, many fans held up congratulatory signs, while North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson and a few players on the bench also applauded.

"I look back and think of all the players that I've watched when I was young," Hansbrough said. "For me to top all of the scorers in that league, it's special. It's an honor. But at the same time, I came here to win the game today and didn't want to focus on individual goals."

Still, it was the latest honor for a player who earlier this year broke both the career scoring and rebounding records at the storied program.

"Everyone's kind of overlooking him, saying this is his last year and his time in the spotlight is done," Frasor said. "But he's still producing for us, and we get the same old Tyler Hansbrough every day."

Hansbrough shot just 5-for-16 on the day, but went 12-for-12 from the foul line -- where he holds the NCAA record for most made free throws -- to go with five rebounds in 20 minutes.

"He's just a very persistent, aggressive player," Radford coach Brad Greenberg said. "I don't think he played so great today. Everyone's getting crazy about him. He's great, don't get me wrong, but he shot 5-for-16. So it's not like he had a Bill Walton NCAA experience out here."

Amir Johnson and Joey Lynch-Flohr each scored 12 points to lead the Highlanders, the Big South Conference champion making just its second NCAA appearance and first since 1998.

Ellington got off to a fast start for the Tar Heels, scoring a layup off the opening tip and finishing 11-for-16 with three 3-pointers. In addition, Green -- who shot a combined 3-for-25 in last week's ACC tournament games -- finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

That was more than enough to offset the loss of Lawson, who has been slow to recover from a jammed right big toe suffered in practice two days before the regular-season finale against Duke. Lawson played 36 minutes in that game, but the toe swelled unexpectedly the day after and forced him to miss both of the Tar Heels' ACC tournament games.

Lawson has said he is feeling better and battling more stiffness than pain, adding he thinks he'll play Saturday. He dressed for the game and went through pregame warmups, but it was clear that Williams didn't want to play him unless the Tar Heels were at risk of a historic upset.

That just wasn't going to happen, as North Carolina finished with 25 fast break points to go with 21 points off turnovers.

"I know Ty Lawson adds to their speed," Radford's Kenny Thomas said, "but they did a great job pushing the ball. At times, we had a tough time getting back in transition."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
A first-half free throw puts Tyler Hansbrough atop the ACC's all-time career scoring list.  (AP)
A first-half free throw puts Tyler Hansbrough atop the ACC's all-time career scoring list. (AP)
Radford #16342458
North Carolina #1 «5348101
RADFRD:Joey Lynch-Flohr 12 Pts
RADFRD:Joey Lynch-Flohr 11 Reb
RADFRD:Amir Johnson 3 Ast
NC:W. Ellington 25 Pts
NC:D. Green 10 Reb
NC:L. Drew II 5 Ast

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North CarolinaRadford
T. Hansbrough
J. Lynch-Flohr
Radford Highlanders
A. Johnson, G385-140-023212
K. Thomas, G364-141-271211
A. Parakhouski, C313-154-6100310
J. Lynch-Flohr, F-C285-172-2112312
P. Martin, F150-20-00240
C. McEachin, G273-90-04117
E. Hall, F182-52-410026
J. Jenkins, G-F30-30-00000
C. Wilder, G20-00-00000
D. Mitchell, G20-10-02000
M. McDuffy, GDid Not Play
L. Trifunovic, FDid Not Play
N. McFarlin, FDid Not Play
A. Austin, GDid Not Play
Totals 22-809-144691758
North Carolina Tar Heels
W. Ellington, G3011-160-183125
D. Green, G-F296-142-2101015
B. Frasor, G243-40-02307
D. Thompson, F213-90-08226
T. Hansbrough, F205-1612-1251122
L. Drew II, G191-30-03542
E. Davis, F195-75-750315
T. Zeller, F132-30-18024
J. Watts, G90-10-02200
M. Copeland, F72-71-12005
J. Tanner, G50-20-00000
J. Wooten, G20-10-01000
P. Moody, F20-10-03000
T. Lawson, GDid Not Play
M. Campbell, GDid Not Play
W. Graves, G-FDid Not Play
M. Ginyard, G-FDid Not Play
Totals 38-8420-24571713101
Big South
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Char. So.0-04-3226
High Point0-04-5298

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Boston College1-07-375
Florida St.0-09-031
Miami (Fla.)0-08-051
N. Carolina0-09-17
Va. Tech0-09-1110
NC State0-08-282
Notre Dame0-08-262
Wake Forest0-06-4157
Georgia Tech0-04-4232
Other games
Butler 71 Final
LSU 75
Nridge 70 Final
Memphis 81
Tx A&M 79 Final
BYU 66
N Iowa 56 Final
Purdue 61
MD 84 Final
California 71
Chatt 47 Final
UConn 103
Miss St 58 Final
Wash 71
Minn 62 Final
Texas 76
Michigan 62 Final
AMER 67 Final
Akron 64 Final
BING 62 Final
Morg St 54 Final
Oklahoma 82
VCU 64 Final
W Ky 76 Final
Illinois 72