Scores

Final

Pennsylvania 71

(0-1, 0-1 away)

(1) North Carolina 86

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    4:00 PM ET, November 15, 2008

    Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    PENN 33 3871
    #1UNC 48 3886

    Top Performers

    Pennsylvania: T. Bernardini 26 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    North Carolina: D. Thompson 17 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Freshmen Zeller, Davis lead Hansbrough-less UNC past Penn in opener

    Associated Press

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Top-ranked North Carolina figured it had enough returning talent to pass its first test without Tyler Hansbrough. Turns out the Tar Heels' frontline newcomers are pretty good, too.

    Tyler Zeller scored a team-high 18 points while fellow freshman Ed Davis had a double-double Saturday to help North Carolina beat Pennsylvania 86-71, a season-opening performance that seemed to indicate the Tar Heels can weather the uncertainty of playing without the reigning national player of the year.

    Deon Thompson added 17 points for the Tar Heels, who led by double figures much of the day yet had some trouble putting together a game-sealing run. North Carolina was also without fellow senior Marcus Ginyard, injuries that forced North Carolina to thrust Zeller and Davis into the lineup.

    Zeller, a 7-footer, started in Hansbrough's spot and finished 5-for-8 from the field and 8-for-10 from the foul line in 23 minutes. Davis had 10 points and 14 rebounds in 22 minutes.

    That's not to say everything went right. Zeller managed two rebounds while Davis went 4-for-8 from the line with four turnovers.

    Still, for a team with a gaping hole inside where its injured star senior used to be, it was a good start heading into Tuesday's game against Kentucky.

    "I think they approached it a lot better than I thought they would do," said senior Danny Green, who had 12 points. "I never thought we'd have so many guys out hurt, but we do. They're playing a lot of minutes and stepping up. ... Thankfully, it just naturally comes to them."

    This was the first regular-season game Hansbrough has missed in his career. The 6-9 forward has been out of practice for more than two weeks with a stress reaction in his right shin -- which can be a precursor to a stress fracture without proper rest -- and it's unclear when he'll be ready to return, though coach Roy Williams said this week the team is just being conservative with his recovery.

    Ginyard is out until December after having foot surgery, robbing the Tar Heels of their top defender.

    Their absence was evident at times, particularly with Tyler Bernardini scoring a game-high 26 points to lead the Quakers. At other times, North Carolina looked like it had more than enough offense left to be one of the nation's top teams anyway.

    Penn hung around much of the way thanks largely to its 3-point shooting. But though they managed to cut a 20-point second-half lead to 10 with about 4 minutes left, the Quakers never seriously threatened to pull the upset.

    "I don't want to downplay the importance of Hansbrough [being out]," Penn coach Glen Miller said. "They're a very, very good basketball team. For us to come in here and try to compete against them with or without Hansbrough, I think that's a tall order."

    Zeller showed his soft shooting touch, scoring the team's first basket on a jumper from the right corner. He also ran the floor well, taking a short bounce pass from Green for a layup off a turnover and throwing down a transition slam in the second half.

    "If you look up in the crowd and there's 20,000 people, you can get overwhelmed," Zeller said. "Ever since my freshman year in high school, I never looked up in the crowd before a game. I just try and stay focused on what I have to do in the game."

    Davis, a lean 6-10 forward, showed his athleticism when he leapt for a missed up-and-under move from Zeller and dunked in the rebound during the decisive 19-4 first-half run.

    "We're getting a lot of minutes early so when [Hansbrough] does get back, it won't be new to us playing a lot of minutes," Davis said.

    Hansbrough's absence left plenty of shots for Green, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson, the three who pondered a jump to the NBA before returning to school. But it was Thompson who turned in the steadiest performance among the returning upperclassmen, going 7-for-11 from the field and grabbing seven rebounds.

    Ellington scored 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting, while Lawson had 12 points after a scoreless first half. Senior Bobby Frasor, whom Williams said Friday might not play due to a sprained ankle, had three points and three assists in 21 minutes.

    The Tar Heels shot 47 percent against Penn's zone defense, though they had trouble consistently knocking in 3-pointers (7-for-22) and didn't get quite as many chances as usual to get out in transition. They led 48-33 at halftime and 62-42 with about 13 minutes left, though Penn got as close as 76-66 on a 3 from Jack Eggleston with 3:59 left.

    Penn shot 40 percent for the game, including 11-for-33 from 3-point range.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    PENN
    UNC
    Points 71 86
    FG Made-Attempted 24-60 (.400) 28-60 (.467)
    3P Made-Attempted 11-33 (.333) 7-22 (.318)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-17 (.706) 23-33 (.697)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 15

    2008-09 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Nov 15, 2008 @UNC 86, PENN 71Recap