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Off the cuff: Being a native of Rocky Mount, you'd think I might want Phil Ford to remain the all-time scoring leader at UNC. After all, Ford was an icon and so respected at Rocky Mount Senior High. He was humble and respectful and a team player. I remember him strolling into my English class to speak to his former teacher, Ms. Murchisson, and to speak highly of her to us. He was a star player at Carolina then. He was articulate - a real yes sir, yes ma'am kind of guy. Now 30 years later, after seeing a different kind of player emerge in college basketball, another Phil Ford-type person breaks the all-time record. Good for you Tyler Hansbrough. You deserve it.

While Tyler and Ford are physically very different and played different positions, their relentless pursuit of the ball and their work ethic are certainly the same.

As most people know, Phil Ford is an alcoholic, something that hindered his chances of becoming a college head coach. There was once talk of him being the head coach of Carolina. I hope he gets a chance to coach one day.

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Heels 91, Purple Aces 73
Hansbrough now UNC's all-time scorer
See the official tribute to Tyler Hansbrough here.
Tyler Hansbrough became the all-time leading scorer in Carolina history, surpassing the iconic Phil Ford, with one of his patented manufactured shots inside – and, by the way, the No. 1 Tar Heels defeated Evansville 91-73 at home. (12/18)

The home crowd was focusing its attention on Hansbrough and his quest – and Hansbrough did score the Heels' first six points of the game. But Evansville was hanging with UNC, in fact tying the score at 18-18 midway through the first half.

While never trailing, the Heels couldn't get the lead to more than four – that is, until Hansbrough hit his history-making shot that put Carolina up 24-18 with 7:43 left in the opening half. While Hansbrough may have rather broken the record with a three-pointer, as he said earlier in the week, the shot couldn't have been more appropriate and indicative of his play.

With his back to the basket, Hansbrough took a pass from Danny Green and twisted into a double team but managed to work up an off balance bank shot for his 2,292 nd point of his career.

Hansbrough backed up raising both hands as he realized the record was broken. He went over to the Carolina bench area, waving his right hand to the adoring fans. A broadly smiling Coach Roy Williams shook Hansbrough's hand.

Ford, who graduated in 1978 with 2,292 points, walked onto the court flanked by athletic director Dick Baddour. Ford and Hansbrough spoke to each other briefly, hugging twice and Ford handed the game ball to Hansbrough.

The players on the court seemed to remain focused on the game at hand as they calmly congratulated Hansbrough. From that point until halftime, the Tar Heels outscored Evansville 22-10 to take a 46-28 lead.

Carolina opened up a quick 25-point advantage early in the second half, highlighted by threes by Green and Lawson and a driving lay in by Lawson.

But when Evansville got the lead down to 16 at 58-42 with five minutes gone in the second half, Williams did a wholesale substitution. Backup Larry Drew II drained a three to make it 61-42. With the starters back in, the lead never got closer than the final score of 91-73 (as the third stringers were outplayed in the last two minutes).

At a post-game celebration of Hansbrough's accomplishment, Phil Ford officially congratulated him and Hansbrough spoke briefly. He said he never dreamed this would ever happen and was honored to represent Carolina . He thanked teammates, coaches and fans but his voice trembled as he thanked his parents.

His parents, who are no longer together, were both in attendance in separate locations. Hansbrough did not know his father would be there.

Speaking to ESPN, Hansbrough's father said, “ Tyler downplays individual things and I thin that fits well with the team concept at Carolina , as it should be,” he said. “But he's done a remarkable thing here with the help of a lot of people – teammates, coaches, fans – and I couldn't miss it for the world.

Some in the sold-out arena nearly missed it, and certainly missed Hansbrough's first six points, as there was a traffic jam that made for a late-arriving crowd.

As for the game itself, Hansbrough led the way with 20 points. Lawson added 16 while Green tallied 14 and Thompson chipped in 13. Will Graves managed double figures with 10. Carolina also blocked 11 shots including four by freshman Ed Davis.

Shy Ely scored 23 for the Purple Aces as the Missouri Valley Conference team fell to 7-2. Carolina , now off to a 10-0 start, play Valparaiso in Chicago Saturday at 2 p.m.


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