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Off the cuff: he fact that Carolina had to hang on against Ohio State will actually be a positive, learning experience for this young team. Ohio State's poise and experience allowed them to come back, along with some turnovers and missed free throws by the Tar Heels.

You don't see teams fouling the point guard down the stretch much - mainly because that player is normally solid from the line. But after Larry Drew II missed two, he got to shoot six more from the line over the last 36 seconds. He hit four of them including two big ones in a row with 11 seconds to go. OSU's P.J. Hill got in Drew's face before the first free throw and tried to do it again for the second shot before an official told him to move away. After the game Drew said his taunting actually helped him to focus on the free throw. Nothing better than unsportsmanlike behavior backfiring. I'm sure Drew thought, I'll show you, you ass.

If Carolina can hit three pointers that well (seven of 15) the rest of the way, the Heels will be a handful for anybody. With solid play from the big men and the ability to shoot from outside, all they'll need offensively is to avoid turnovers.

Having only listened to the Valpo game on the radio in the parking lot of Washington's FedEx Field while savoring an unexpectedly impressive win by the Redskins, I haven't as much to say about the Heels' victory over the Crusaders. However, I would say that the young Tar Heels are going to have sloppy games like that and that they need them as well. The young guys are seeing early that it's not all rainbows and puppy dogs. They'll show intensity and urgency and focus against ranked Ohio State... or else they'll draw the ire of Coach Roy Williams - and they certainly don't want that.


Heels 77, Buckeyes 73
Carolina hangs on after holding big lead

North Carolina held a comfortable lead over No. 15 Ohio State most of the way but had to hang on to defeat the Buckeyes 77-73. (11/19)

Up by 19 at 55-36 midway through the second half, the Tar Heels had a hard time scoring baskets the rest of the way. Still, Carolina led by 13 at the last TV timeout. Five quick points by Ohio State’s David Lighty – a three followed by a steal and layup – cut the margin to eight at 68-60 with 2:05 to go.

Carolina seemed to have it wrapped up after Marcus Ginyard drained a three at the end of the shot clock to put the Heels up 71-60 with just 1:35 to play.

“I haven’t talked about our three point shot much this year but going seven of 15 helps,” UNC coach Roy Williams said, noting that Ginyard’s three proved to be a big one.

 It got interesting once UNC’s Larry Drew II missed a pair of free throws and Lighty quickly hit another three with 45 seconds left to cut it to 73-68.

Twice over the next 15 seconds, Drew was fouled and managed to hit only two of four from the line. With 21 seconds left the Heels led 75-70 but a long Jon Diebler three with 11 seconds to go cut it to just two at 75-73.

Drew was fouled again before the clock started but this time he sank both free throws to wrap it up despite Ohio State’s P.J. Hill, who fouled him, trying to rattle him.

“We still have to work on turnovers (19) but I was pleased with our competitiveness,” Coach Williams said.

Carolina jumped out to a 7-0 lead in less than three minutes on the strength of a 6-0 rebound edge.

A Marcus Ginyard three from left side gave the Heels their first double-figure lead at 15-5 with a little less than six minutes into the game.

Despite eight turnovers, the Tar Heels still held a 17-11 lead when they went on a 9-0 run highlighted by a layup and free throw from Tyler Zeller and a driving layup by Will Graves to make it 26-11.

The largest lead of the first half was 16 following a Graves three from the left corner.

The Buckeyes cut the lead to 11 late in the half before Ginyard drilled the Tar Heels’ third three with just three seconds to go to give the Heels a 38-24 margin.

“We feel very fortunate,” Coach Williams said. “They were one for 10 from the three point line in the first half and I knew that wouldn’t last.”

Ohio State, which sank five threes in the second half, was led by Evan Turner who scored 23 points but he also turned the ball over 10 times.

UNC had four players in double figures led by Deon Thompson’s 15 points. Graves had 14 points, Ginyard scored 13 and Drew finished with 11.

Carolina, which moves to 4-0, plays Syracuse in Madison Square Garden Friday night at approximately 7:30 p.m.


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