Feb. 18, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)--Tyler Hansbrough scored 27 points to help third-ranked North Carolina beat North Carolina State 89-80 Wednesday night.

Danny Green added 19 points for the Tar Heels (24-2, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who pulled away in the second half to win their 10th straight game. North Carolina shot 55 percent for the game to improve to 12-1 against its nearby rival since Roy Williams took over at his alma mater before the 2003-04 season.

The Tar Heels used a 14-0 run early in the second half to take control, pushing a three-point halftime lead to 53-38 with 16 minutes left. N.C. State got no closer than six points and trailed by 19 down the stretch.

Javi Gonzalez scored 18 points to lead the Wolfpack (14-10, 4-7 ACC), who shot 54 percent but couldn't keep pace with the Tar Heels after halftime.

Hansbrough finished 10-for-15 from the field and 7-for-7 from the line, which allowed him to pass Pete Maravich for second in career free throws. He also had his first 20-point outing in four games and passed Phil Ford for the school's career record in field goals.

Tyler Zeller, North Carolina's 7-foot freshman who suffered a broken left wrist late in the win against Kentucky on Nov. 18, returned ahead of schedule. The injury was expected to sideline him for the season, but he recently returned to limited practice before entering the game to a standing ovation with 8:28 left in the first half.

Zeller finished with two points and three rebounds in eight minutes.

North Carolina's offense had few problems, hitting 20 of 32 shots (63 percent) in the second half. The defense, however, wasn't what coach Roy Williams would have liked, allowing the Wolfpack to shoot 64 percent after the break even as the Tar Heels pulled away.

N.C. State certainly fared better this time than it did in last year's trip to Chapel Hill, when it fell behind 43-13 at halftime in a 93-62 loss. This time, the Wolfpack got a surprisingly strong performance from Gonzalez (16 points) to hang around and trail just 39-36 at halftime.

N.C. State just couldn't carry that over to the second half.

After Ellington missed a 3-pointer on the first play after the break, North Carolina's offense picked up the pace and its efficiency. First came a three-point play from Hansbrough, followed by another three-point play from Green. Then, after consecutive scores from Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington freed himself from C.J. Williams with a crossover dribble and buried a jumper to cap the 14-0 spurt.

N.C. State got as close as 63-57 on a 3-pointer from Dennis Horner with 10:44 left, but the Tar Heels maintained control. Ellington eventually had a run of nine straight points that helped North Carolina take a 77-59 lead with 6:09 left.