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Off the cuff: Williams was not in a good mood during and after this game against N.C. State. First he dropped an f-bomb on the ref during the game (which was audible over TV) and then at the press conference after the game he said the Carolina defensive press "f--king" stinks. I guess this officially ain't your father's Tar Heels. In all the years I covered the Tar Heels (including the times I was allowed into closed practices) I never heard Dean Smith even utter something as bad as "damn." To Williams' credit, he was very apologetic and said it wasn't like him to use that word - except on rare occasion on the golf course. As frustrating as golf is, I'll give him a break on that one. But it is important to curb your language when being a teacher of young men, being an influence on young fans and representing the University of North Carolina.

If you listened to the TV broadcast, did you get the impression that announcer Tim Brando was rooting for the Wolfpack? He probably was just rooting for a good game as the Tar Heels started to pull away. But...he kept talking about what he felt was a push by Lawson and then talked about a push by Frasor and when Raycom went to break he said, "The Wolfpack trails by a dozen." That's a strange way to put it unless you are the N.C. State radio announcers. I went back and looked at those supposed pushes he was talking about and I just don't see them. To the extent that Lawson did lay his hands on the Wolfpack player, it didn't affect the play as the pass was already errant. I guess Brando never saw Gonzalez and Costner palm the ball nor did he see Hansbrough get hacked right in front of the camera. Brando's a good announcer so I have to assume he was disappointed that the game wasn't closer and it wasn't a case of Anybody But Carolina.

Speaking of TV coverage, I had written that if Raycom TV isn't embarrassed about not airing the first of the Carolina-Virginia game they should be. Turns out they are. I spoke with Colin Smith, a VP with Raycom, and the 1994 UNC grad said in hindsight they would have done it differently.

What happened was Carolina was the second half of a Raycom double header. The Duke-Miami overtime game ended at 3:56. Yet Raycom missed three and a half minutes of the Carolina-Virginia game that didn't start until after 4 p.m. There were commercial breaks after the Duke game, after the brief Duke game wrap-up, after the Carolina game intro and after a brief Carolina "pre-game" keys to the game segment.

Raycom was working quickly on the fly, trying not to complicate things for network affiliates by staying on their break schedule. They first tried to get Carolina to delay the start of the game but UNC officials refused, Smith said. He said it would have been better if Raycom had skipped the second Carolina break and made it up later. Instead, we all missed the beginning of the game - unnecessarily. Plus, there were two identical commercials by a couple of sponsors from the time the Duke game ended and when they picked up the Carolina game. Smith acknowledged that advertisers don't like their commercials placed so closely together.

So, it was a botch. Raycom doesn't get a lot of practice with such situations as the first game of double headers don't normally run that long (in addition to the overtime, there was a scoreboard power delay during the Duke game). He said it might happen once every three or four years. As it so happens though, a nearly identical problem happened the next day as the first game (Virginia Tech vs. N.C. State) ran long but Raycom had learned their lesson and dumped the second break before the second game.

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Heels 89, Wolfpack 80
UNC's 14-0 run in 2nd half sinks Pack

Up by only a point at 39-38 early in the second half, North Carolina reeled off 14 straight points in less than three minutes to go up by 15 en route to an 89-80 win at home over N.C. State. (2/18)

Danny Green had five points during that stretch while Ty Lawson had four, including two on a steal and layup. But it was Tyler Hansbrough who took over the second half as he scored 20 of his game-high 27 points.

The Tar Heels, now 24-2, led by as many as 19 in the second half before giving up the last 10 points of the game to make the final score respectable.

Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe said it's a mark of a good and experienced team to come out and set the tone in the first five minutes of the second half. "They know it's important and they just imposed their will," Lowe said.

N.C. State shot well throughout the game, finishing at 54 percent and is the only team to hit more than half their shots against the Heels. The Wolfpack led by as many as five points in the first half and only trailed by three at the half, 39-36.

But that 14-0 run, coupled with a 14-2 run starting midway through the second half, did in N.C. State. The second run was capped off by a Green steal that led to a Lawson to Wayne Ellington layup on the fastbreak which made it 77-59 with 6:09 to play.

Lawson, who scored 17, finished with nine assists and only one turnover. Green got three steals on the way to a 19-point night while Ellington tallied 16 points.

Javier Gonzalez led N.C. State, now 14-10 and 4-7 in the ACC, with 18 points, including 16 in the first half when he was six of six from the floor and four of four from the free throw line. Carolina shut him down in the second half as he only shot twice and turned it over five times.

The Heels turned the ball over only once in the second half and finished with nine turnovers and 14 steals.

The game marked the return of 7-footer Tyler Zeller, who picked up four fouls and two points during only eight minutes of play. Out with a hand injury since Nov. 18, Zeller said he felt a half-step slow.

The Tar Heels, 10-2 and firmly in first place in the conference, play at Maryland Saturday.


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