Saint Louis 63

(3-3, 0-3 away)

(23) North Carolina 75

(5-1, 4-1 home)

9:00 PM ET, December 7, 2005

Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

1 2 T
SLU 34 2963
#23UNC 31 4475

Top Performers

Saint Louis: A. Drejaj 16 Pts, 1 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

North Carolina: D. Noel 16 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

Hansbrough's second-half surge propels Tar Heels

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Roy Williams sat stiffly on the sideline, barely able to move because of a bad back.

At least Tyler Hansbrough gave his coach something to feel good about.

The freshman scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half Wednesday night to lead North Carolina (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) past Saint Louis 75-63, giving the Tar Heels a solid follow-up to their weekend upset of Kentucky.

David Noel had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels (5-1), who held off the pesky Billikens in the first matchup between the programs since 1959. Reyshawn Terry added 14 points.

Anthony Drejaj had 16 points to lead Saint Louis (3-3), which led by three points at halftime but had no answer for Hansbrough after the break.

The 6-foot-9 forward -- who came into the game averaging a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds -- went 7-for-8 from the field in the second half and sparked a 13-0 run that erased a 34-31 halftime deficit.

"I think our intensity as a team picked up and I kind of fed off that," Hansbrough said. "In the second half, things were flowing a whole lot better and I got a lot more movement and got myself open a lot more."

His performance was at least some kind of get-well present for Williams, who threw out his back when he leaned over to pick up a pair of shoes at home Wednesday morning.

Williams spent much of the morning in bed and even considered not coaching the game. He roamed the sideline gingerly and sat on a raised black stool between his bench and the scorer's table for much of the game. That kept him upright and prevented him from having to move too much.

He occasionally got up to shout instructions, walk the sideline or talk to a player on the bench in the first half -- though he wasn't about to lean forward to do it. He even struggled with his pregame tradition of throwing Carolina blue T-shirts to the students near the bench; he managed only to hand two shirts to fans on the front row and lightly tossed two more underhanded into the section.

"It was probably the most frustrating night I've ever had because I didn't feel like I was giving the club very much," Williams said. "I had a big dilemma in my mind whether or not I should stay in the locker room and let them play."

But as the game went on and the young Tar Heels found themselves in a tight contest, the coach became more animated on the sideline. His team eventually responded by playing with more second-half intensity, particularly Hansbrough.

"For him to come out and coach tonight under those circumstances -- he was really hurting, I know y'all could see it -- it just proved a lot to us," said reserve Wes Miller, who hit two second-half 3-pointers.

"We know that no matter what the situation, no matter what the circumstance, Coach Williams is going to give it all he has and that's pretty darn good."

Hansbrough got off to a quick start after the break, attacking the bigger Ian Vouyoukas inside. He scored three baskets on the Tar Heels' first four possessions of the second half -- knocking down two hook shots before powering over Vouyoukas for a basket and a foul -- before Terry ended the run with a 3 for a 44-34 lead with 17:20 left.

"It was obvious Coach Williams told them at halftime, 'We are going into the post, no matter what," Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg said.

While Saint Louis answered with an 11-point run of its own to take a brief lead, the Tar Heels went ahead to stay when Noel found Terry for a reverse layup and a 46-45 lead with 13:11 left.

From there, the inexperienced Tar Heels performed more like a veteran team, answering runs from the Billikens with big baskets of their own. Miller hit two key straightaway 3s -- one with his team holding a one-point lead -- and Hansbrough added a hanging layup off a screen-and-roll feed from Bobby Frasor for a three-point play and a 64-58 lead with 4:06 left.

The Tar Heels gradually increased that lead, with Hansbrough slamming down a rebound of a missed shot by Frasor for a 73-60 lead with 1:06 left.

"They showed why they're a ranked team despite being so young," Soderberg said. "I think they reflect Coach Williams' poise. They look to him and know he's been through about everything, so they have no reason to get rattled."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 63 75
FG Made-Attempted 25-58 (.431) 30-59 (.508)
3P Made-Attempted 9-16 (.563) 7-19 (.368)
FT Made-Attempted 4-6 (.667) 8-13 (.615)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 12 (0/0)
Largest Lead 5 15

2005-06 Season

» Dec 7, 2005 @UNC 75, SLU 63Recap