GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- The final box score practically screamed
"North Carolina victory." The 10th-ranked Tar Heels shot 51
percent, held Virginia to 28 percent and won the rebounding battle
Somehow, in a gritty game that had all the rhythm of a wrestling
match, it simply wasn't that easy.
"We understand every game is not going to be pretty, we're not
going to always win pretty," forward Reyshawn Terry said. "We
just have to step up and be willing to take on the challenge when
No one did it better than him.
Terry had 24 points, freshman Tyler Hansbrough added 17 and
North Carolina overcame a sluggish start to beat Virginia 79-67
Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference
"I loved our toughness," coach Roy Williams said. "They've
learned to listen to what I say and not be concerned if the vein in
my neck or head is busting or anything like that. I liked our
competitiveness, and I think it will help us."
David Noel finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Tar
Heels (22-6) won their eighth straight and 11th in the past 12
games. This was nothing like their 45-point rout of the Cavaliers
last week, when North Carolina used the emotion of Senior Night to
post the largest margin of victory in the 95-year history of the
Still, it was enough to earn a spot in the semifinals against
the winner of the Maryland-Boston College game. Wes Miller made
three 3-pointers and had 15 points for the Tar Heels.
"One of the reasons I didn't want to play Virginia was because
of what happened nine days ago," Williams said. "If somebody
beats me by 45, I'm going to be so fired up it's going to be
Point guard Sean Singletary had 29 points and 10 rebounds for
his first career double-double for Virginia (15-14), which can only
hope for an NIT bid. J.R. Reynolds scored 20 points despite
shooting 3-for-16 from the field, and he and Singletary combined to
convert 24-of-26 at the free throw line.
"It really doesn't matter what type of game I had," Singletary
said. "We lost and my season is over, and they're still playing."
His coach, Dave Leitao, quickly corrected him.
"What Sean said, and you didn't hear him, was regular season,"
The Tar Heels missed seven shots in a row during one stretch of
the early going and trailed 14-4 after about 5½ minutes. They
responded with a 20-2 run to take control, with the final points
coming courtesy of a technical on Leitao.
Oddly, his anger came after a missed shot by North Carolina's
Danny Green. Referee Bryan Kersey called the technical that led to
two free throws from Miller, while Leitao still yelled on the
sideline. Assistant coach Rob Lanier got off the bench to stand
between his boss and the court, but Leitao wasn't finished.
He disgustedly tossed a rubber band on the court when Virginia
eventually got possession, and during a media timeout moments
later, he glared at Kersey for several seconds before returning to
his team's huddle.
"I was irate and frustrated, and we had an exchange," Leitao
said. "We both said some things that probably we shouldn't have
said, and I didn't have a whistle to call a 'T' on him, so he
called one on me."
Perhaps it inspired the Cavaliers. They came back to force the
final tie of the game at 24 on two free throws from Reynolds and
trailed 39-34 at halftime.
North Carolina scored the first six points of the second half
for an 11-point lead, and even though Virginia eventually got
within four, the outcome never really was in doubt.
"Like Coach said, on a scale from 1-to-10, we probably played
at a 2," Noel said. "We're lucky to get out of here with a win,
especially against the caliber of team like Virginia. They
definitely had a chip on their shoulder from the last game."
Terry narrowly missed his career high of 25 points scored
earlier this season at Kentucky, and Miller reached double figures
for only the second time in the past eight games. Hansbrough kept
doing what he's been doing through all 28 games of his first
Earlier this week, he became the first freshman to be an
unanimous selection to the All-ACC first-team, and he did nothing
to disappoint in his first outing since the honor. Hansbrough now
has scored at least 14 points in each game except one as he tries
to become the first first-year player to lead North Carolina in
scoring and rebounding.
"It was really physical," Hansbrough said. "It was pretty
bumpy, and they were double- and triple-teaming me at times. That's
when I had to stay within myself and make some pretty good moves."