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Off the cuff: During the game, former Georgetown coach John Thompson said he admired Mount St. Mary's for their courage in running with the Heels but he questioned the rationale. Coach Williams said that the Mountaineers won nine of 10 games after they started playing more uptempo. Plus, their coach is trying to build a program, not just play one opponent.

I was glad to see that CBS stuck to its fairly recent policy of staying with blowout games in the local viewing areas of the teams involved. In past years, those of us in North Carolina would not have been able to see the last few minutes of the game. They would have shipped us off to a closer game. We would have missed a lot of fun - including the play of the subs who held their own.

Marc Campbell, who had three assists, was the only player who did not score. With 10 seconds left, he had the ball but chose to let the clock run out as he dribbled in the backcourt. What's that all about? Radio announcer Woody Durham said he was doing it the way Roy Williams wants it done at the end of a game, implying that it was good sportsmanship. Bunk. These guys, who rarely play at all, are playing in an NCAA tournament game probably for the only time in their lives. Let 'em play. He should have driven as far as he could and then put up a shot before time expired. If you are really worried about sportsmanship, once the Heels got up by 30 they could have worked the shot clock to the end every time instead of allowing the starters to run up and down dunking all over the inferior Mountaineers.

As someone who mostly sat on the bench during my youth, I know that this was a good team-building, cameraderie-filled outing for the Heels. But there won't be any more like this one in the tournament.

Heels 113, Mountaineers 74
Tar Heels open NCAA tournament with a laugher

Mount St. Mary's decided to run with the No. 1 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. While it might have been fun for the Mountaineers to score some points, it turned into a laugher for the Heels as they won big, 113-74. (3/21)

As UNC guard Ty Lawson said, "We like when teams run with us."

Playing in Raleigh, where Carolina lost its only opening round NCAA game in 1979, the Heels put up 60 points in the first half as three players were already in double figures. Ahead 60-41, Carolina started the second half with eight straight points to put an end to any thoughts of a Mountaineer comeback.

During that stretch, Tyler Hansbrough hit a half hook, Wayne Ellington converted a lay-in on a fastbreak, Ty Lawson sank a pull-up jumper and Deon Thompson hit a 10-foot turnaround jumper.

Everybody got into the act as every player on the Carolina team scored except for one - Marc Campbell, who did play good defense over the game's last five minutes and threw an alley oop pass to fellow sub Surry Wood to give the Heels a 41-point lead at 111-70. The Heels got their largest lead of the evening at 44 when seldom-used J.B.Tanner drilled a long three-pointer, which brought smiles to the starters and coaching staff on the bench.

It was certainly the most fun Carolina's Jack Wooten has had this season. Who's Jack Wooten? Well, he was the only player on the team who hadn't scored this season until he scored on a backdoor layup and followed it up with a three-pointer from the corner.

There were a lot of laughs for the Heels including a missed dunk attempt by Marcus Ginyard who fell to the deck untouched. But Carolina was focused and respectful of the opponent. Coach Roy Williams said the Heels came out with intensity and a sense of urgency.

Carolina opened up a 10-2 lead following a three by Lawson, who looks to finally be back to 100 percent after injuring an ankle seven weeks ago. The Mountaineers made some good fast break plays that made the Heels look bad in the first half. But Carolina was able to use its height advantage and some good offensive rebounding to slowly work the lead up.

The Heels shot 64 percent in the second half to open it up. Inside men Hansbrough (21 points), Thompson (15) and Alex Stepheson (12) combined for 48 points. Lawson had his best game in a long time as he scored 21 points and was able to penetrate and speed past defenders. Ellington added 16.

Chris Vann, who scored 16, led Mount St. Mary's, which finishes the season at 19-15.

The Tar Heels are now 33-2 and play in the second round Sunday afternoon in Raleigh against Arkansas, a winner over Indiana. A win in that game will tie the most victories in season for a Tar Heels team. Carolina has now won 12 straight games and will have to win five more to take a national championship.

Check out the game box score and a game photo gallery.
Take a look at other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on WRAL.com by clicking here.

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