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Off the cuff: Let's be honest, holding the ball for 14 seconds before scoring isn't exactly the Four Corners of old. But it was a nice gesture.

Unfortunately, it happened so quickly that I'm not sure everybody was keyed into it. As a result, it sounds as if Coach Roy Williams wasn't real happy with the response from the crowd.

Based on the subdued crowd reaction, he thinks a lot of people didn't recognize what he was doing.

While there are probably a lot of newcomers to Carolina basketball in the 18 years since Coach Smith retired, I tend to think that even those who recognized it were emotional themselves about it. It might have been more of a melancholy moment for them rather than a rah-rah moment.

Regardless, it did get Coach Williams on his soapbox about Carolina's home crowd not being as loud and supportive as he'd like this season.

He says when he coaches on the road, his players have to read his lips but that they hear him fine at home.

He said "we're in this together" and that the Tar Heels need some help from the home crowd. He thinks some fans are simply there to be entertained instead of being part of it all.

Frankly, Tar Heel fans are knowledgable and they know when to be loud. Yelling for the sake of yelling and creating some imaginary chaos is often futile and annoying.

Yes, the home crowd needs to be more engaged but I'd give them a pass on a day when they are paying tribute to Dean Smith - and beating a losing team by 30 points.

One thing is almost certain - the Tar Heel faithful will have the Smith Center rocking Tuesday night against rival NC State.

Tar Heels 89, Georgia Tech 60
Heels impressive in emotional rout of GT

North Carolina coach Roy Williams had tears in his eyes as he called Four Corners to begin the game against Georgia Tech in tribute to former Coach Dean Smith. The slow-down offense resulted in a bucket and the Tar Heels went into uptempo the rest of the way in an 89-60 rout. (2/21)

The Tar Heels bounced back from a disappointing loss at Duke with an impressive victory that included six men in double figures, along with the Heels shooting a season-high 62 percent from the floor.

"We got the ball up and down the court at a speed we like," Williams said. "They ran into us on a good day, a good day for us."

It was the first home game since Coach Smith's death and Williams came up with the idea of starting the game in the Four Corners. "It's something I've been thinking about a long time," he said. "I wanted to do something that would mean a great deal to him and a great deal to me."

It meant even more that the Tar Heels scored on the play. Coach Smith liked to say that the Four Corners was designed as a way to score.

Coach Williams noted that the oldest player on his team was only about 3 when Coach Smith retired from coaching. But the players have learned a great deal about how much Coach Smith meant to so many.

"It was a last way to honor Coach Smith," UNC guard Marcus Paige said. "I was probably the most nervous I've ever been because I knew I would be the ball handler in the middle. I didn't want anything to go wrong."

Paige said he was relieved when Brice Johnson cleanly got his backdoor pass and put it through the hoop.

Carolina got out to a 7-0 lead and worked the lead up to double digits early at 17-7.

The Tar Heels had a lot of success getting the ball down low with 26 points in the paint to work the lead up to a 43-29 at the halftime.

Any thoughts that the Yellow Jackets could come back were squelched in the first three minutes of the second half as the Heels went on a 21-1 run. Johnson had six points during the stretch that extended the Carolina lead to 25 at 55-30.

A two-handed power dunk by Isaiah Hicks gave the Heels their largest lead up to that point at 78-42 with 8:26 to go. Less than two minutes later, Hicks took a pass from Justin Jackson to give the Heels their largest lead of the game - 38 points - at 82-44.

Kennedy Meeks led the Tar Heels with 18 points while Johnson had 16. Paige had 13 points, 10 assists and no turnovers while JP Tokoto and Hicks each finished with 12 points. Jackson was the sixth Heel in double figures with 11.

Marcus Georges-Hunt led Georgia Tech, now 12-15, with 15 points.

The Tar Heels, who play at home against NC State Tuesday, improve to 19-8 overall and 9-5 in the ACC.


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