Feb. 3, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -Wayne Ellington started knocking down 3-pointers, and the rest of his teammates soon followed: Danny Green, Ty Lawson - even star big man Tyler Hansbrough.

It all added up to North Carolina's best game from long range in quite a while.

Ellington scored a season-high 34 points and hit seven of his team's season-high 16 3s in the third-ranked Tar Heels' sixth straight victory, a 108-91 rout of Maryland on Tuesday night.

Hansbrough had 24 points - including a late 3 over defender Dave Neal - and Lawson added 21 and four 3s for North Carolina (20-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).

"We just came out and were hitting shots - not just myself, but Danny was hitting shots, Tywan was hitting shots from the perimeter," Ellington said. "We just kept it rolling."

The ACC's hottest team used some early long-distance touch to clinch their fifth straight 20-win season under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.

Green finished with 16 points for North Carolina, which hit 11 of its first 14 attempts from behind the arc to match the school's record in a half, and finished one 3-pointer shy of the record for a game set against Florida State in 1995.

"I've said a lot of times this year that we can really shoot the ball," Williams said. "We shot the Dickens out of it tonight."

They shot 51.4 percent, reached the 100-point mark for the sixth time and snapped a two-game losing streak in the series with their first win against Maryland since 2006.

Freshman Sean Mosley scored a season-high 19 points, Cliff Tucker added 18 and Greivis Vasquez scored 13 for the Terrapins (14-8, 3-5), who hoped to draw some confidence from their return to the arena where last year they became the first team to beat the then-No. 1 Tar Heels.

They only briefly led this time and were handed their sixth loss in nine games since Jan. 3, falling to 0-4 on the road with a second straight blowout loss on Tobacco Road. Two weeks ago, they were routed by 41 points at Duke after allowing the Blue Devils to make 48 percent of their 3s.

With the Tar Heels flashing an even more potent touch from long range, the Terps didn't stand a chance.

"They made like four or five 3s in a row, and that was basically the game," Vasquez said. "We were so worried about Tyler Hansbrough that we gave shots away. We let them shoot the ball. ... It was just basically a no-defense game. They didn't play defense, and we didn't play defense."

Ellington, the shooting guard who returned to Chapel Hill for his junior season after considering a jump to the NBA, has struggled at times to find his shot.

But these days, he seems to have figured things out, hitting the 20-point mark for the third time in five games - including a previous season-high of 25 against Clemson. He had 21 points by halftime, finished with a career-best seven 3s and was two points shy of the career-high 36 points he scored last season at Clemson.

"As soon as I saw a couple of them go in," Ellington said, "I felt like all of them were going in."

He and Green were both 4-for-5 from long range in the opening 20 minutes, with Lawson adding three 3s - including one from the right wing barely 9 minutes in that put the Tar Heels up by double figures for good.

But for all of North Carolina's early accuracy from beyond the arc, the most significant play early may have come in the paint. Hansbrough bulled through the lane when Dino Gregory delivered a hard, intentional foul to the reigning national player of the year.

"I'm kind of a veteran at it," Hansbrough said. "That's not the first intentional foul that's happened to me. I know how to go about it."

That started a scoring spree in which the Tar Heels came away with points on 12 of their next 15 trips downcourt, a run capped by Hansbrough's dunk with 3:42 before the break made it 54-34.

Hansbrough - who had his school-record 119th double-figure scoring game - moved up on two career achievement lists, jumping into third place on the ACC's scoring list ahead of North Carolina State's Rodney Monroe and knocked down nine free throws to pass Oscar Robertson (869) for third on the NCAA's career list.

Eric Hayes and Neal both finished with 10 points for the Terps, who shot 48 percent and matched North Carolina in both rebounds (39) and turnovers (16).

"When you get behind like that, you really have to gamble and push your offense," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "I don't care if they beat us by 40. It doesn't matter if we can keep it within 20. A loss is a loss. We just couldn't shut them down for any length of time. We had a couple times where I thought we might be able to get on a run, but they always made a play."