UNC survives Ga. Tech scare
By: By The Associated Press
Don’t miss the end of any of North Carolina’s conference road games this season.
The top-ranked Tar Heels have played two Atlantic Coast Conference games away from home and both have been cliffhangers they have managed to win to remain unbeaten.
“It says we have matured a lot,” junior Danny Green said Wednesday night after his free throw with 22 seconds left proved the difference in North Carolina’s 83-82 victory over Georgia Tech.
The game wasn’t decided until Tyler Hansbrough blocked Elvis Peacock’s shot and Peacock couldn’t hit a follow jumper after grabbing the loose ball.
“I feel very lucky,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said.
It was the second squeaker in two ACC road games for North Carolina (18-0, 3-0), which beat Clemson 90-88 on Wayne Ellington’s 3-pointer with .4 seconds left in overtime.
“Last year this time, things were going the other way,” North Carolina’s Marcus Ginyard said. “This year speaks volumes about how we have matured.
“We are making that extra effort.”
In other games involving ranked teams on Wednesday, it was: No. 7 Duke 70, Florida State 57; Texas Tech 68, No. 10 Texas A&M 53; Massachusetts 82, No. 14 Dayton 71; No. 18 Mississippi 89, Florida 87; Temple 78, No. 20 Xavier 59; and No. 25 Villanova 76, DePaul 69.
Hansbrough scored 27 points and the one big block.
Georgia Tech (7-9, 0-3) had the one last chance at the upset but Peacock’s shot rimmed out.
Peacock insisted that someone hit his hand on the first shot, but he made no excuses about the second attempt.
“It was the cleanest shot you’ll ever get in a basketball game,” he moaned. “Next time, it’s going in.”
Hansbrough finished 7-of-14 from the field and kept getting to the foul line, where he had more attempts (15) than Georgia Tech’s entire team (10). The burly, 6-foot-9 junior made 13 free throws, and North Carolina needed every one of them.
“My face really got beat up,” said Hansbrough, who also had 11 rebounds. “It was really, really rough.”
North Carolina is off to its best start since the 1985-86 team began the season with 21 straight wins. Another encouraging sign for the Tar Heels: This is their first 3-0 start in the conference since 2004-05, and that team went on to claim the NCAA championship.
This season, they have won all but four of their games by double figures. North Carolina came into Atlanta averaging 92.2 points and winning by an average margin of 22.1.
The Tar Heels pulled even at 70 on Ty Lawson’s three-point play with 8:52 remaining but the Yellow Jackets kept matching North Carolina shot for shot. Jeremis Smith hit two free throws with 1:13 remaining to make it 82-82.
Smith led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points and Peacock had 14.
The Tar Heels snapped a four-game losing streak against Georgia Tech in Atlanta by going 21-of-26 at the foul line while the Yellow Jackets were 8-of-10.
“We were lucky in a way,” Hansbrough said. “We didn’t make our shots at the end of the game.”
Mississippi 89, Florida 87
Dwayne Curtis had 20 points and 12 rebounds and freshman Trevor Gaskins scored 19 points for the Rebels (15-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), who ended a six-game losing streak to Florida. It was the first win for Ole Miss against the two-time defending national champions since 2002 and the Rebels are off to their best start since they started 16-1 in 1925-26.
Nick Calathes and Dan Werner had 16 points each for the visiting Gators (15-3, 2-1), who took advantage of poor free throw shooting by Mississippi down the stretch to wipe out most of a 16-point lead.