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Off the cuff: An intentional foul by Kent State's Al Fisher on Hansbrough in the first half got under Coach Wiliams skin a bit. "I'm tired of it," Williams said. "Everybody thnks it's ok to break the guy in half."

It was a bad foul but the Carolina students continued reaction to it was a bit ridiculous. They booed the guy every time he touched the ball for the rest of the game. First, how can you really pay attention to the game when you're focused on waiting for Fisher to get the ball so you can boo him? Second, it gives him more attention than he deserved. Boo him at the time but leave it behind. Hansbrough surely did as he went on to have one of his best games of the year.

Some ballsy fan for Kent State heckled Carolina players at the foul line. It's a good thing Carolina fans are nice - he might not have made it out of Cameron acting like that. Oh, and it didn't work as Carolina was 17 of 20. Coach Smith once told me that he had done a study and determined that fan's yelling and waving their hands had no affect on free throw percentages and only showed poor sportsmanship of those doing it.

That Quaintance guy was pretty amazing but with the hair and the bulging eyes after he was called for a foul he felt he did not commit, he looked just like Buckwheat. O tay!

Ok, I'm getting tired of mentioning the "air ball" thing but I'm not giving up my effort. Woody Durham used the term "air ball" twice and Carolina students used it several times to continue to heckle a player who had earlier missed the basket. As a reminder, the air ball chant was invented by Duke students when UNC's Rich Yonaker missed everything at a key moment in a game at Cameron in 1979. Not only do we not need to remind ourselves of it each game, we should have more creativity than to steal a Duke cheer.

The subs came in for Carolina with 3:17 to play but lost by a point. It was 84-54 when they came in. They gave up seven points and scored six including a dunk by Surry Wood at the buzzer.

Heels 90, Golden Flashes 61
Shorthanded Tar Heels break it open with big three

Carolina's big three - Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson - came through with big efforts to lead a shorthanded squad to a 90-61 victory over Kent State. (1/2)

With Bobby Frasor gone for the season with a bad knee and Quentin Thomas nagged by an ankle injury, it wasn't good news when it was learned that Alex Stepheson would not play because of a family emergency.

But Hansbrough poured in 25 points, including 11 of 11 from the foul line, while Ellington and Lawson chipped in 17 each to lead the Heels to a 14-0 record. The three tallied 22 of the teams 34 buckets.

The Tar Heels worked a first-half lead up to 18 at 37-19 when Ellington drove to the bucket on a secondary fast break. A late spurt by the Golden Flashes, assisted by poor shot selection by the Heels and some ole defense, pulled Kent State to within nine at 41-32.

But Ellington drilled a three at the buzzer to up Carolina's lead to 12 at 44-32 at the half. The score never got closer as a Lawson driving layup moved it to 53-38 going into the first TV timeout of the second half. A Hansbrough patented bank shot upped the margin to 21 at 63-42 by the second TV timeout.

The largest lead of the game came at 84-52 following a Will Graves offensive rebound and stick back. Graves and Mike Copeland, who scored a career-high tying eight points, played more than usual because of Carolina's current lack of depth.

Thomas is expected to be back for the Tar Heels' ACC opener at No. 19 Clemson Sunday but Stepheson's situation is fluid.

Carolina shot 52.5 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the foul line. Lawson popped in three of five from three-point land. Lawson is known for driving to the hoop but that flexibility will open up the inside for the big guys if he can continue hitting the threes.

Coach Roy Williams seemed frustrated through much of the game, even walking off the court following a late first-half Kent State dunk before Ellington's three. But by the end of the game he had softened some and even gave the Heels the day off Thursday. He said these last few games were good for the Heels because of the various styles of play.

"Now we get into the family stuff," Williams said of starting ACC play. "It's time to start the big play."

Williams told me in the preseason that he breaks the season into three parts - prior to January, the ACC season and the post-season. The first part of the season is meant to prepare the squad for ACC play - and settling on roles. But injuries have hampered that. There is one more non-conference game - that against UNC-Asheville - next week.

Haminn Quaintance had a big game for Kent State equaling a career high with 20 points on a 10 of 12 effort. He also has six rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocked shots in one of the best efforts the Tar Heels have seen this year.


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