CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s big early lead vanished, and coach Roy Williams was steamed. So, he yanked everyone off the court, sent in five subs and went ballistic on the bench.
Everyone got the message, and then everyone got involved in the scoring. All five starters reached double figures and the fourth-ranked Tar Heels scored 21 straight points during their 91-69 rout of Boston College on Thursday night.
Tyler Hansbrough scored 18 points, Deon Thompson added 13 of his career-high 17 in the first half and Ty Lawson finished with 16 for the Tar Heels (20-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Wayne Ellington scored 14 points and Marcus Ginyard added 10 for the Tar Heels, who shook off an eight-day layoff and took command with a 21-0 run that bridged halftime.
That big burst permanently turned the matchup of the league’s top two scorers into a blowout and helped North Carolina reach the 20-win mark for the fourth straight year and 50th time in 98 seasons. Hansbrough entered leading the ACC with a 22-point average, with BC’s Tyrese Rice two points behind.
Rice equaled his average with 20 points, but he was 6-for-15 from the field and 1-for-9 from 3-point range for the Eagles (12-7, 3-3), who had 17 turnovers and were denied their second straight victory at the Dean Smith Center. BC has lost three straight and five of seven overall.
Lawson also finished with 10 assists and Alex Stepheson added 11 points for the Tar Heels, who returned to the dominant style that fans had gotten used to during their 18-0 start to the season. They were playing at the Smith Center for the first time since a surprising 82-80 loss to Maryland knocked them from No. 1.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – For the second straight game, Duke found itself trailing by nine points at halftime. Just as before, the third-ranked Blue Devils knew how to respond.
Greg Paulus scored 22 points and freshman Kyle Singler added 19 to help Duke rally past North Carolina State 92-72 on Thursday night, keeping the Blue Devils alone atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
Gerald Henderson and DeMarcus Nelson each had 18 points for the Blue Devils (18-1, 6-0 ACC), who ran into an unexpectedly tough opponent in the first half before turning up their intensity to dominate the rest of the way.
In fact, the Blue Devils made this one look like Sunday’s win at Maryland. In that game, Duke allowed Maryland to shoot 62 percent in the first half to build a 51-42 lead at the break before rallying for a 93-84 win.
This time, Duke shook off a spirited effort by Gavin Grant and the Wolfpack (13-7, 2-4), erasing a 46-37 deficit to overwhelm its nearby rival.
Indeed. Duke shot 21-for-32 (66 percent) from the field and hit 7 of 11 3-pointers in the second half while allowing the Wolfpack just 18 field-goal attempts after the break. The Blue Devils also took a 19-7 edge on the boards in the half.
As a result, Duke outscored N.C. State 55-26 in the final 20 minutes.
N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe couldn’t have asked for much more from his Wolfpack — in the first half, anyway. Grant scored 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting in the first half. Costner came off the bench to score 12. N.C. State also committed just nine turnovers despite sending inexperienced point guards Gonzalez and Marques Johnson against Duke’s aggressive perimeter pressure.
Duke and North Carolina are on a collision course and it won’t be much longer till they lock horns in Chapel Hill.