North Carolina Tar Heels Fan Group's Blog Mon, 18 Feb 2008 10:14:26 GMT All Tar Heels talk, all the time. VT vs UNC North Carolina coach Roy Williams cracks his fair share of jokes during his weekly news conferences.<br />&lt;!--&lt;table border="0" align="left" cellpadding="6" width="10">&lt;tr>&lt;td align="center">&lt;IMG name="pictureposition1" border="0" alt="" SRC="">&lt;/td>&lt;/tr>&lt;/table>--><br />Such as the one Friday, when he mentioned that redshirt freshman Will Graves and junior Mike Copeland needed to &quot;get their butts in gear&quot; for Saturday&#39;s game against Virginia Tech.<br /><br />&quot;The way I phrase it right there is almost exactly the way I&#39;m going to phrase it to them,&quot; he said as the press room cracked up.<br /><br />But Williams wasn&#39;t joking about the main point.<br /><br />&quot;I don&#39;t mind putting a little pressure on them,&quot; he said later. &quot;It&#39;s time to put up or shut up.&quot;<br /><br />Apparently Graves and Copeland listened carefully to the slightly revised message at practice as both added solid contributions to UNC&#39;s 92-53 shellacking of the Hokies.<br /><br />Graves finished with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting and notched up two rebounds and a steal as well.<br /><br />While Copeland started off shakily with a turnover, he ended up with two points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a surprising 15 minutes of play - allowing the Tar Heels to ease the burden on Deon Thompson, who played only nine minutes with a hyperextended knee.<br /><br />While Tyler Hansbrough noted their contributions, too, Williams highlighted the duo&#39;s play after the game.<br /><br />&quot;I challenged them about doing some positive things for us when they got in,&quot; Williams said. &quot;I think they did that.&quot;<br /><br />Graves was a factor almost the moment he entered the game. Gathering the ball on a fast break - one of many UNC was able to run on the afternoon - he used his right shoulder to clear out the defender closing in on him before laying the ball up for two points.<br /><br />His next time in, it was a 3-pointer to give UNC a 29-13 lead as the game began to get out of hand.<br /><br />&quot;Everybody will think of the 3-point shot,&quot; Williams said. &quot;But he got a defensive rebound - that was a big-time rebound - and he also sprinted back on defense one time and got in the lane. Those kinds of plays were more important than the shots going in.&quot;<br /><br />Graves continued his scoring production in the second half with a smooth bank shot and another three-ball as he posted the second-highest scoring total of his young career and his top mark in ACC play.<br /><br />But defense has been a focus with Graves since the start of the season, and his answer to a question about shooting eventually moved to the other end of the floor.<br /><br />&quot;Having a three made - yeah, it felt good,&quot; Graves said. &quot;But it was just being out there, just giving it all on defense and just trying to make the simple plays.&quot;<br /><br />The surprises with Copeland came both in blocks - including one that led to an emphatic alley-oop dunk by Alex Stepheson - and some nifty passing on an assist to a cutting Quentin Thomas for a layup during the second half.<br /><br />&quot;(Williams) just told us we need to step up and be big-time players, like we&#39;re capable of being,&quot; Graves said. &quot;He has faith in us, we have faith in ourselves.&quot;<br /><br /><br /><br />Contact the Sports Editor at Mon, 18 Feb 2008 10:14:26 GMT 7#bag _ Com North Carolina ekes out road win CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Thanks to additional injuries, foul trouble and players testing out new positions, No. 5 North Carolina was anything but conventional Wednesday night at Virginia.<br />&lt;!--&lt;table border="0" align="left" cellpadding="6" width="10">&lt;tr>&lt;td align="center">&lt;IMG name="pictureposition1" border="0" alt="" SRC="">&lt;/td>&lt;/tr>&lt;/table>--><br />But as has become the norm the past two games, the Tar Heels (23-2, 8-2 ACC) were able to embrace the new identity and piece together a nail-biting 75-74 victory on the road at John Paul Jones Arena.<br /><br />With 22 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers (11-12, 1-9) down by two, it was fittingly a banged-up Marcus Ginyard - who was questionable with a sprained ankle until tipoff - finding Tyler Hansbrough down low for the decisive two points.<br /><br />A Sean Singletary 3-pointer with 10 seconds left gave the Cavaliers hope, but they took seven seconds to foul Wayne Ellington and failed to control his missed free throw as the clock ran out.<br /><br />&quot;Well, we feel very fortunate, and I have no problem saying that,&quot; UNC coach Roy Williams said afterward.<br /><br />The ailing Ginyard ran the offense for large portions of both halves with senior Quentin Thomas on the bench in foul trouble.<br /><br />While Ginyard might never earn Jason Kidd-esque grades in offensive administration, he displayed more confidence with the ball and allowed the Tar Heels to survive the absence of a true ball handler by dishing out three assists and surrendering only two turnovers in 35 minutes.<br /><br />&quot;(Ginyard) came up big for us,&quot; Danny Green said. &quot;Had a couple of turnovers here and there, but he did a good job. &acirc;&euro;&brvbar; He&#39;s been controlling the team for us.&quot;<br /><br />Ginyard said he gets input from injured point guard Bobby Frasor as he learns the new position.<br /><br />&quot;It definitely is interesting - it&#39;s all an experience for me,&quot; he said.<br /><br />&quot;And I&#39;m just taking it in as much as I can, really trying to learn as much as I can. I&#39;m out there making mistakes here and there, but the biggest thing is just trying to give the best effort that I can.&quot;<br /><br />Although Ginyard survived his stint as point guard, neither he nor any other Tar Heel could slow down Singletary. Whether he was stroking a 3-pointer or setting up a teammate in the Cavaliers&#39; stagnant offense, Singletary kept his team in the game all night and ended with 27 points and seven assists.<br /><br />&quot;He&#39;s really a good player,&quot; Williams said of Singletary. &quot;You look at all those charts in the Virginia history, where he is in points, assists, rebounds, all those. &acirc;&euro;&brvbar; He&#39;s a big-time player.&quot;<br /><br />Using 17 first-half points from Hansbrough as well as Ellington&#39;s rejuvenated 3-point stroke, the Tar Heels jumped out to an early advantage and finished the half strong to lead 38-31 at intermission.<br /><br />But UNC&#39;s already limited depth took another hit early in the half after Thomas and Green each picked up his fourth foul.<br /><br />Despite acceptible production from Ellington and Deon Thompson - who limped through the second half with an injured left knee - the Tar Heels struggled to pull away from a Virginia team that committed no turnovers after halftime.<br /><br />But even at the end of the game with the score close, UNC held true to its mix-and-match formula. <br /><br />With the shot clock winding down, it was the perimeter-oriented Ellington who caught the ball in the post and jumped between two Virginia defenders for a hard-nosed layup to put UNC up 73-68 with 1:30 left.<br /><br />&quot;I am extremely proud of how tough our kids are,&quot; Williams said. <br /><br />&quot;I am not extremely proud of how we handle the ball and those kinds of things, but that is a tough bunch of kids in that locker room.&quot;<br /><br /><br /><br />Contact the Sports Editor at Thu, 14 Feb 2008 00:44:30 GMT 7#bag _ Com UNC Still da Master of the Tigers <p>Clemson&#39;s James Mays, all alone in the open, court, hauled in a pass, took a monster step and threw down a dunk to open the game.<br /><br />When Tyler Hansbrough turned to inbound the ball, there was orange everywhere.<br /><br />Taking advantage of Ty Lawson&#39;s second straight missed game, Clemson (17-6, 5-4 ACC) threw on a full-court press, roared out of the locker room and stormed to the biggest lead the No. 3 Tar Heels have faced all season.<br /><br />Which only made for a bigger comeback.<br /><br />Without leading at any point during regulation, the Tar Heels used every second possible - plus two overtime periods - to claw back from a barrage of punches and a 14-point deficit, then ran away late for a 103-93 win.<br /><br />&quot;They hit us right between the eyes, and we backed off,&quot; UNC coach Roy Williams said. &quot;We got so timid and tentative with everything.&quot;<br /><br />In a game every bit as heart-pounding, nerve-wracking and adrenaline-fueled as the first meeting between the two teams this season, the Tar Heels struggled to recover from their woozy opening minutes for the rest of the game.<br /><br />Then senior Quentin Thomas drove to the hoop.<br /><br />His soft layup sank through the net with 26 seconds left in the second half, and the Tar Heels had finally rallied to tie the game at 82-82, closing a gap of nine points in the final three minutes.<br /><br />But the theatrics were just getting started when Clemson&#39;s K.C. Rivers missed a scoop layup to keep the score knotted and send the game into overtime.<br /><br />From there, it was a mix of clutch 3-pointers, foul-outs and pressure-packed free throws as the two teams passed the lead back and forth.<br /><br />Throughout all the madness, the one constant was Hansbrough.<br /><br />The power forward finished with 39 points, nailed 17 of 19 free throws and put the Tar Heels (22-2, 7-2) on his back with his clutch play, especially in extra time.<br /><br />&quot;When he leaves, I am going to consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to have coached him,&quot; Williams said of the UNC junior.<br /><br />Not all of Hansbrough&#39;s damage was done in his usual home under the hoop. He helped break the press, drove to the hoop and hit a free-throw line jump shot to open the second overtime.<br /><br />And his biggest play of all came on the defensive end, when he pressured Clemson&#39;s David Potter, poked the ball away and pounced on it to preserve a thin Tar Heel lead.<br /><br />&quot;I was in a dead sprint, felt pretty good about it and then dove,&quot; Hansbrough said.<br /><br />Behind his effort, the Tar Heels ran their record to an astounding 53-0 against Clemson in Chapel Hill, which broke the NCAA record for the longest home winning streak by one team over another.<br /><br />&quot;To be honest, I didn&#39;t really want to break the streak here,&quot; Hansbrough said. &quot;I don&#39;t want to be on that team.&quot;<br /><br />Clemson played like a team possessed to change that history.<br /><br />The Tigers attacked, trapped, pressed and muscled the Tar Heels for almost the entire game, trying to avenge a 90-88 overtime loss to UNC a month ago.<br /><br />In the face of a shrieking Sunday night crowd, the Tigers got a heroic 31 points from Cliff Hammonds and clutch offensive rebounds from Trevor Booker, but just couldn&#39;t turn the tables on the Tar Heels.<br /><br />For a UNC team still smarting from a home loss to Duke on Wednesday, the thrilling win was a helpful dose of relief.<br /><br />&quot;Coach says you can enjoy it until the clock hits (midnight),&quot; Hansbrough said. &quot;I think I&#39;m going to enjoy this a little longer.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h4>By: <a href="/blogs/" title="Gregg Found, Senior Writer">Gregg Found, Senior Writer</a></h4><p><strong>Issue date:</strong> 2/11/08 <strong>Section:</strong> <a href="" title="Sports">Sports</a></p> Mon, 11 Feb 2008 12:03:49 GMT 7#bag _ Com Tarheels square off against BC <h2>Tarheels square off against BC</h2><h3>Hoopsters have room to improve on defensive end</h3><h4>By: <a href="/blogs/" title="Gregg Found, Senior Writer">Gregg Found, Senior Writer</a></h4>&nbsp;Taking stock of his Tar Heels, especially of the woes, laments and criticisms leveled at the team&#39;s defense as of late, Roy Williams put it simply:<br /><br />&quot;It&#39;s not where I want it to be,&quot; Williams said at his news conference Wednesday. &quot;But it&#39;s good enough to be 19-1.&quot;<br /><br />Not about to fall into the pit of panic that started with close calls at Clemson and Georgia Tech and then picked up steam with a home loss to Maryland, Williams said the Tar Heels are edging closer to his defensive demands.<br /><br />&quot;It&#39;s not that far from being a pretty good defensive team,&quot; Williams said. &quot;It really isn&#39;t. Coach (Dean) Smith left a message after the Miami game and said, &#39;I thought you were a lot better defensively, they just made some shots.&#39;&quot;<br /><br />Tonight the Tar Heels return to the scene of their only failure - the 82-80 loss to Maryland.<br /><br />With fresh legs, they&#39;ll welcome Boston College to the Smith Center after an extraordinarily long regular season layoff.<br /><br />UNC hasn&#39;t played for a full week since beating Miami, and in that week they have had two days off, two light practices and three full practices.<br /><br />&quot;I hope mentally it helped them more than anything,&quot; Williams said. &quot;I was trying to help them get their legs back &#39;cause it&#39;s a marathon that we&#39;re trying to run here.&quot;<br /><br />Searching for a time in his coaching career when his team has had an eight-day break during conference play, Williams found nothing.<br /><br />&quot;I don&#39;t know that I&#39;ve ever had one,&quot; he said.<br /><br />Any Tar Heel rust will need to be brushed off quickly - especially at point guard.<br /><br />Boston College brings Tyrese Rice and his 20 points per game into a stellar matchup against Ty Lawson.<br /><br />&quot;I really believe it&#39;s his team,&quot; Williams said of Rice. &quot;And I believe he plays like it, acts like it, talks like it, walks like it.&quot;<br /><br />Marcus Ginyard played AAU basketball with both Rice and Lawson - though that was about eight years ago - and said that Lawson is undoubtedly faster but that Rice&#39;s determination can lift him to another level.<br /><br />&quot;I just hope that Ty takes this as a personal challenge,&quot; Ginyard said. &quot;I want him to really push.&quot;<br /><br />And in the paint for Boston College lurks 6-foot-11 senior Tyrelle Blair, the conference&#39;s top shot blocker (4.3 blocks per game) by a mile.<br /><br />&quot;You have to coach guys how to play against a shot blocker,&quot; Williams said. &quot;Most guys think you go in there and you double and triple pump &acirc;&euro;&brvbar; (but) the toughest block is when a guy takes it right at your face.&quot;<br /><br />After tonight&#39;s game, the Tar Heels won&#39;t get an extended break for the next month - which might not be bad.<br /><br />&quot;I was dying after the Maryland game, but you know what happened?&quot; Williams said. &quot;We played another one.&quot; Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:28:32 GMT 7#bag _ Com UNC looks to rebound vs. Miami <h4>By: <a href="/blogs/" title="Jesse Baumgartner, Senior Writer">Jesse Baumgartner, Senior Writer</a></h4><strong>Issue date:</strong> 1/23/08 <strong>Section:</strong> <a href="" title="Sports">Sports</a> (<a href=""></a>)<br />&lt;!--&lt;table border="0" align="left" cellpadding="6" width="10">&lt;tr>&lt;td align="center">&lt;IMG name="pictureposition1" border="0" alt="" SRC="">&lt;/td>&lt;/tr>&lt;/table>--><br />The 2007-08 Miami Hurricanes are just another piece of evidence for the &quot;why preseason media polls are worthless&quot; campaign.<br /><br />Picked by the press as the second worst team in the ACC, Miami enters tonight&#39;s contest against UNC at 14-3, with quality wins against Virginia Commonwealth University, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech. Plus, the &#39;Canes easily could have come out on top against N.C. State on Saturday in an overtime thriller.<br /><br />Not surprisingly, Miami is depending on the scoring capabilities of junior guard Jack McClinton. While McClinton&#39;s nonscoring stats are rather unimpressive, he can light it up from the outside in a hurry - carrying a swish-filled .466 3-point percentage into the game.<br /><br />In general, scoring has not been a big problem for Miami, which averages a respectable 76.8 points per game for the season. But even though the &#39;Canes are giving up just 62.8 points per game for the year, that number has jumped to 74.3 points during their three ACC games. Not a great sign for anyone playing the high-powered Tar Heels.<br /><br /><strong>Clang, Clack, Clong</strong><br /><br />The beginning of the season saw the Tar Heels displaying some fine marksmanship from the outside courtesy of Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. But in the past two games against Maryland and Georgia Tech, Ellington is shooting just 34.6 percent from the field while Green is worse at an even 30 percent.<br /><br />Three-point shooting from the two has been even worse. Ellington is just 25 percent beyond the arc in the last two games while Green has missed his last 10 long bombs. Not surprisingly, the Tar Heels as a team have shot 30.4 and 20 percent, respectively, from downtown during their last two games.<br /><br />UNC already ranks ninth in the ACC in 3-pointers made, and considering that Ellington and Green take the most threes on the team, they&#39;ll have the biggest say in whether that trend gets turned around.<br /><br /><strong>Hansbrough collecting stats</strong><br /><br />While every move Tyler Hansbrough makes this year seems to be analyzed by every major sports network in America, the junior continues to put up impressive numbers. He is currently averaging a double-double with 21.3 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, shooting better than 80 percent from the line, averaging 9.89 free throws per game and playing 31.1 minutes a contest.<br /><br />But perhaps the most important improvements to his game were on display during the second half against Maryland. During one sequence, Hansbrough drained a long jumper, drove to the hoop for a big slam, sunk a 12-footer on the baseline and then converted a tough layup over multiple defenders. <br /><br />Maryland coach Gary Williams compared the way Hansbrough uses angles to former Terrapin star Lonny Baxter and said, &quot;If he starts making those jump shots, it is really going to be a problem.&quot; Wed, 23 Jan 2008 12:49:08 GMT 7#bag _ Com FOOT BAWL CRUITS <p>LB recruit commits to Tar Heels<br />Posted TUE on T&amp;R</p><p>A scholarship offer first extended by former coach John Bunting paid off for North Carolina coach Butch Davis when New Bern High linebacker Kevin Reddick committed to the Tar Heels last weekend. Reddick, who&#39;s 6-foot-2 and 217 pounds, made more than 200 tackles as a senior, is ranked the eighth-best prospect in North Carolina by He also considered South Carolina and East Carolina.</p><p>HEELS LAND THREE:</p><p>TIM STEVENS<br />(Raleigh) News &amp; Observer</p><p>&nbsp;UNC picked up commitments from linebacker Zach Brown (6-1, 212) of Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military; quarterback A.J. Blue (6-2, 205) of North Gaston; and cornerback Alonzo Dennard (5-10, 185) of Rochelle (Ga.) Wilcox.</p><p>As a high school senior in 2007, Brown, who has been timed at 4.39 seconds over 40 yards, won Maryland state titles at 100 meters (10.67 seconds) and 200 meters (21.52).</p><p>Miller Safrit, a regional recruiting analyst for, said UNC is loading up on fast linebackers, noting the commitments of Kevin Reddick of New Bern and Ebele Okakpu of Roswell, Ga.</p><p>Blue was a dual-threat quarterback at North Gaston, leading the team to a 12-3 season last fall. North Gaston lost to Western Alamance 62-36 in the state 3-A title game.</p><p>Blue had 5,077 career passing yards and 4,623 career rushing yards. In 2007, he had 2,265 rushing yards and 1,603 passing yards.</p><p>Safrit said Dennard was overlooked by some college programs because he played in a run-oriented conference.</p><p>&quot;He doesn&#39;t jump out on film,&quot; Safrit said. &quot;You have to look at several games to appreciate how well he plays in the secondary.&quot;</p> Wed, 23 Jan 2008 12:47:05 GMT 7#bag _ Com UNC treats NC State like they were the Pac 10 <h2>UNC&#39;s balanced attack crushes Wolfpack</h2><h3>Green, Thompson set career highs</h3><h4>By: <a href="/blogs/" title="David Ely, Sports Editor">David Ely, Sports Editor</a></h4>The North Carolina men&#39;s basketball team capitalized on stingy low post defense in building a 30-point halftime lead and went on to blast N.C. State 93-62 Saturday afternoon at the Smith Center.<br /><br />UNC (17-0, 2-0 in the ACC) trapped, pressured and blocked the Wolfpack (11-4, 0-1) into a season-low 13-point first half. N.C. State made only six of its 34 shots while enduring a span of 10:14 in between made-baskets. The 13 points allowed by the Tar Heels marked the second-fewest points allowed in a half by a UNC squad in the past 29 years.<br /><br />&quot;It was a great first half for us,&quot; UNC coach Roy Williams said. &quot;(N.C. State) had a lot of shots that they normally make that didn&#39;t go in for them today. I think our defense had something to do with it, but it wasn&#39;t the only reason.&quot;<br /><br />Leading the way defensively for the Tar Heels was the forward trio of Danny Green, Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson, who combined to block nine shots on the day - eight of which came in the first half - and to collect 25 rebounds. That interior defense limited N.C. State freshman J.J. Hickson to 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting and forward Brandon Costner to only four points.<br /><br />The tenacious defense by the Tar Heels sparked countless UNC fast breaks as North Carolina established a blistering tempo on a 30-2 run that turned a nine-point tie into a 41-11 blowout that ended any on-court drama.<br /><br />&quot;I just felt like we (needed) to keep going because they&#39;re a good team. They&#39;re just going to come back,&quot; North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson said of the first half run. &quot;I thought they were going to come back eventually or make a run at it at least. So I just wanted to keep going, keep scoring points - make it as high as we can before the second half.&quot;<br /><br />Lawson and Thompson set the tone offensively for UNC the with 16 points a piece, while three other Tar Heels scored in double figures to round out the balanced attack. The 16 points scored by Thompson marked a career high. Two other Tar Heels had career days as Green notched a career-best 14 rebounds and tied his career high with four blocks, and Lawson made a personal best four three-point baskets. Mon, 14 Jan 2008 01:59:30 GMT 7#bag _ Com UNC Beats Clemson! <p>CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- No. 1 North Carolina passed its first true test -- barely. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><a href="">Wayne Ellington</a>&#39;s 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in overtime lifted the top-ranked Tar Heels to a 90-88 victory over 19th-ranked Clemson on Sunday night. <p>&nbsp;</p>After weeks of routing nonconference competition -- they had won their previous four games by an average of 33 points, North Carolina (15-0) found itself locked in a classic to start the Atlantic Coast Conference season and came out on top. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;It shows our maturity, it shows we can stick it out and get the win when we have to,&quot; Ellington said. <p>&nbsp;</p>Ellington was the main reason that the Tar Heels managed to do that as he scored a career-high 36 points. <p>&nbsp;</p>None were bigger than his final 3-pointer from the left side of the key after taking a pass from <a href="">Ty Lawson</a> on North Carolina&#39;s final possession. <p>&nbsp;</p>Right from the moment it rolled off Ellington&#39;s fingertips, he knew the Tar Heels would head home happy and with the No. 1 ranking intact. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;It felt really good,&quot; Ellington said. Defender <a href="">James Mays</a> was &quot;flying at me and I knew if it had chance to get there it was going to go in,&quot; Ellington said. <p>&nbsp;</p>The Tar Heels leaped from the bench as Ellington pumped his fist in celebration. <p>&nbsp;</p>Only moments earlier, Clemson freshman <a href="">Demontez Stitt</a> had hit two foul shots with 13.9 seconds to go that put the Tigers ahead, 88-87. <p>&nbsp;</p>Instead, Ellington&#39;s basket sent the Tar Heels out of Littlejohn Coliseum with their seventh straight win over Clemson. <p>&nbsp;</p>Ellington scored seven of North Carolina&#39;s nine points in overtime. He surpassed his career high of 23 set earlier this season in a win over Ohio State. <p>&nbsp;</p>Tiger coach Oliver Purnell was pleased with Clemson&#39;s defense on All-American <a href="">Tyler Hansbrough</a>, held to just 12 points, 10 fewer than his average. Hansbrough did lead North Carolina with 14 rebounds. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;If you told me we&#39;re going to that job on Hansbrough, I&#39;d feel pretty good,&quot; Purnell said. <p>&nbsp;</p>Instead, it was Ellington who continually did in the Tigers. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;I didn&#39;t think he&#39;d get 36,&quot; Purnell said. &quot;33 would&#39;ve been fine.&quot; <p>&nbsp;</p><a href="">K.C. Rivers</a> led Clemson (12-2) with 24 points, but failed to score in overtime. <a href="">Trevor Booker</a> added 14 points and 11 rebounds. <p>&nbsp;</p>Lawson had 16 points. He jumped around with teammates after Ellington&#39;s basket. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;It felt joy to get a win, to get up and get out of here,&quot; Lawson said. <p>&nbsp;</p>Clemson looked like it had the game won in regulation when Hammonds drove the lane uncontested by the Tar Heels to give the Tigers an 81-74 lead with 2:37 to go. <p>&nbsp;</p>But North Carolina wasn&#39;t done. <p>&nbsp;</p>Ellington nailed a 3-pointer and <a href="">Danny Green</a> followed with another to cut things to 81-80. Hansbrough, an 81 percent foul shooter this season, stood at the line with two shots, but missed the first before tying the game. <p>&nbsp;</p>Ellington put up a straightaway 3-pointer from the top of the key that bounced off with 14 seconds left -- and gave Clemson a chance at victory. <p>&nbsp;</p>The Tigers got three shots at the basket in the final seconds, but couldn&#39;t convert. <p>&nbsp;</p>Purnell said win or lose, his club would use this game as a measuring stick for the rest of the ACC season. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;We&#39;re close, but we&#39;re not where we need to be yet,&quot; he said. <p>&nbsp;</p>Their fans certainly were prepared. Decked out in orange T-shirts with Purnell&#39;s face and the words &quot;Oliver Purnell&#39;s Posse,&quot; the sold-out crowd kept things raucous throughout. <p>&nbsp;</p>The Tar Heels hadn&#39;t been in a nailbiter in weeks. Now that they have, they plan to take the experience with them this season. <p>&nbsp;</p>&quot;It was a test for us,&quot; Hansbrough said. &quot;In the end we won. We didn&#39;t do the things we needed to do defensively at times. Hopefully, at the end of the year when we come into these situations, we&#39;ll be more prepared.&quot; Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:16:06 GMT 7#bag _ Com NFL For UNC? North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer hasn&#39;t had the most impressive statistical season so far, totaling 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.<br /><br />But apparently numbers aren&#39;t everything, as Balmer currently sits at No. 7 on the senior draft board of ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. That list, of course, doesn&#39;t take into account the numerous college juniors who will declare for the NFL Draft and rank ahead of Balmer, but his stock is still strong heading into the end of the 2007 season.<br /><br />While Balmer said he doesn&#39;t pay attention to such projections, the reality for him and other UNC players - such as Durell Mapp - is that their chance to play at the next level is rapidly approaching.<br /><br />UNC head coach Butch Davis does his part for players hoping to reach the NFL by setting up a &quot;senior day&quot; to talk with the players and their parents about the process.<br /><br />&quot;We talked about just the process of what it means to have a great senior year, how important that is,&quot; Davis said. &quot;Then we talked about all-star games, and what we&#39;ve tried to do is we&#39;ve tried to put together video highlights and DVDs and send out to all the postseason bowl selection people.&quot;<br /><br />The team hosts dates on which pro teams come in to look at the players, and Davis also contacts various people to advocate his guys. Balmer said potential UNC players definitely have an advantage in that their head coach and other assistants have been at that next level.<br /><br />Balmer - who Davis termed &quot;more of a known commodity&quot; - is the highest UNC player on the draft boards right now, but Davis thinks that senior defensive end Hilee Taylor has a good chance of playing on Sundays, too. Taylor has had a breakout season and ranks No. 7 in the nation with 10 sacks.<br /><br />&quot;I think there&#39;s a lot of (scouts) that are going to be very enthralled with him,&quot; Davis said.<br /><br />Taylor and Balmer have come up in the UNC program together, and Balmer said the two have discussed the thought of knocking heads in the NFL.<br /><br />&quot;In the NFL maybe, he&#39;ll be on the other team, and when I go there I can stay at his house, different things like that we just kind of look forward to. And hopefully it will happen for us - I think it will.&quot;<br /><br /><br /><br />Contact the Sports Editor at Sun, 18 Nov 2007 04:37:46 GMT 7#bag _ Com TAR HEELS 1-0 <p>CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Top-ranked North Carolina&#39;s best player didn&#39;t have a field goal in the second half and picked up a technical foul. The point guard had one assist, and the <a href="">Tar Heels</a> were in danger of becoming another early season upset victim. </p><p>And coach Roy Williams thought it was great.</p><p>&#39;&#39;I told the guys in one of the huddles, &#39;You may not believe this right now, but I love this,&#39;&#39;&#39; Williams said. &#39;&#39;This is great for us.&#39;&#39; </p><p><a href="">Wayne Ellington</a> picked up the slack for <a href="">Tyler Hansbrough</a> and <a href="">Ty Lawson</a> , scoring 20 points and making key plays late to help the <a href="">Tar Heels</a> avoid a shocking loss in their opener by edging Davidson, 72-68 on Wednesday night. </p><p>&#39;&#39;Exhibition games are not great for us. We win by 56 and 52, and that doesn&#39;t challenge us, it doesn&#39;t test us,&#39;&#39; Williams said. &#39;&#39;Tonight did.&#39;&#39; </p><p>And it showed the <a href="">Tar Heels</a> have some work to do to be national title contenders. </p><p>Trailing for much of the second half, North Carolina closed the game strong. Ellington&#39;s free throw with 3:44 left put the <a href="">Tar Heels</a> ahead to stay. His jumper with just over a minute left made it a three-point game. Lawson, held to one assist with four turnovers, then hit three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds. </p><p>Hansbrough had 14 points and 14 rebounds, but was 0-for-1 from the field in the second half, struggling to get shots and getting into foul trouble. </p><p><a href="">Stephen Curry</a> scored 24 points for Davidson (1-1), which nearly became the latest small school to knock off a major school. </p><p>&#39;&#39;We were right there,&#39;&#39; Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. &#39;&#39;A possession here and a possession there, that&#39;s how close this game was.&#39;&#39; </p><p>With Mercer beating Southern California and Gardner-Webb stunning Kentucky so far, Davidson was bidding to join the early season surprises. The Wildcats returned all five starters from last season&#39;s team that won a school-record 29 games before losing to Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament. </p><p>They had a tough time stopping Hansbrough early.</p><p>Hansbrough, the leading vote getter on The Associated Press&#39; preseason All-America team, dominated the first half with 12 points and 11 rebounds to help North Carolina rally from an early seven-point deficit to take a 38-31 lead. </p><p>But Hansbrough and the <a href="">Tar Heels</a> went cold to start the second half. Hansbrough also lost his cool to help Davidson&#39;s comeback. </p><p>Hansbrough was called for a foul on <a href="">Andrew Lovedale</a> while fighting for position on the perimeter with 17:07 left. The two starting jawing and then Hansbrough gave him a slight shove. Referee Mike Wood immediately called a technical foul on Hansbrough, and Davidson turned it into four consecutive points to take a 39-38 lead. </p><p>&#39;&#39;I got a foul, and I started walking to our huddle,&#39;&#39; Hansbrough said. &#39;&#39;I guess their team was huddling up, and things got congested there.&#39;&#39; </p><p>Hansbrough went more than 7 minutes without scoring to start the second half and Davidson built a 50-46 lead on Will Archambault&#39;s 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes left. </p><p>The <a href="">Tar Heels</a> , who missed 12 of their first 14 shots to start the second half, started going inside with Ellington getting key hoops with Hansbrough on the bench with four fouls. </p><p><a href="">Danny Green</a> added 11 points for North Carolina, which overcame 19 turnovers. </p><p>&#39;&#39;It was good for our team to have some key guys get in foul trouble, and players came off the bench and really helped us,&#39;&#39; Hansbrough said. </p><p>Curry, the son of former NBA 3-point specialist Dell Curry, was only 8-for-22 from the field and 2-for-12 from 3-point range.</p><p><a href="">Jason Richards</a> added 12 points and eight assists, but Davidson hit just 4-of-22 3-point attempts and was outrebounded 40-33 as it played with two ailing big men, <a href="">Boris Meno</a> and <a href="">Max Paulhus Gosselin</a> . </p><p>&#39;&#39;The No. 1 team in the country and we were right there with them,&#39;&#39; Curry said. &#39;&#39;It shows that we&#39;ve got better since last year. But we&#39;ve still got a lot of work to do to win one of these games. We&#39;ll have more opportunities.&#39;&#39; </p><p>It was the start of an ambitious schedule for Davidson, which also plays No. 2 UCLA, No. 13 Duke and No. 21 North Carolina State. </p><p>While it was a Davidson home game, the crowd was predominantly pro- <a href="">Tar Heels</a> . North Carolina agreed to the game to get players acclimated to Charlotte Bobcats Arena, which will host the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and the NCAA East Regional. </p><p>Williams thinks this game will make them that much better come March.</p><p>&#39;&#39;I think it&#39;s great even if you lose,&#39;&#39; Williams said. &#39;&#39;But it&#39;s a heck of a lot better to get tested like that and win.&#39;&#39;</p><p>credit AP</p> Thu, 15 Nov 2007 08:04:15 GMT 7#bag _ Com