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Off the cuff: What a game that was between UNC and Virginia Tech. Carolina, playing without Lawson, trailed most of the game. The Tar Heels didn't play badly and showed a lot of heart - especially when they all but have an NCAA top seed wrapped up and Virginia Tech doesn't even have a spot in the NCAA tournament ensured. In fact, the Hokies will probably be going to the NIT with an 18-14 record.

That was about as excited as I've seen Hansbrough. Not really sure the reason why except that this is his last ACC tournament and he wants it. Hansbrough was so fired up that after the game he initially went the wrong way when leaving the court.

There is reason for concern though as Danny Green and Bobby Frasor combined to hit only two of 11 three-point attempts. With Lawson out especially, the Tar Heels need some big shots from those two.

Ellington's two three pointers toward the end of the first half were big. Instead of the Hokies having a comfortable six to nine-point lead, Carolina rallied for a one-point halftime lead. Ellington has been instrumental to the Heels this year but he did not make the All-ACC team. Common thought is that Ellington will turn pro but it would be odd for a player to go pro without even making first, second or third team All-ACC. It would be good to see him take his bows during his senior season.

Below is my All-ACC team that I announced the day before the official team was named. Not only did I say Lawson was the player of the year, not to brag, but my first and second team picks were identical to the official team. Three of my five third-team picks were identical as well. I chose Ellington and Jeff Allen on my third team while the other writers picked Lawal of Georgia Tech and Delaney of Virginia Tech.

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ACC Tourney: Heels 79, Hokies 76
Hansbrough scores 28 to rally UNC

North Carolina, playing without injured sparkplug point guard Ty Lawson, fought from behind much of the day and, thanks to late points by Tyler Hansbrough, defeated Virginia Tech 79-76 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals in Atlanta. (3/13)

Hansbrough, who scored 28 including 18 in the second half, scored six points in the final 1:13 to give the Heels a come-from-behind victory. Down 74-73, Hansbrough sank two free throws to give Carolina a 75-74 edge with just over a minute to play. Tech's A.D. Vassallo followed his own miss to give the Hokies a 76-75 lead with 53 seconds left.

That's when Hansbrough hit one of his biggest shots of the year - a shot that looks familiar to Tar Heel fans. Hansbrough took a feed from Wayne Ellington and dribbled down the left baseline to the basket where he was tripled teamed. He ducked under the pressure, jumped up with his back to the basket and tossed up an underhand hook that bounced around the rim and went in to give the Heels a 77-76 lead with 36 seconds left.

With fouls to give, the UNC defense held as Hansbrough forced a jump ball - with possession to Carolina with five seconds left. The call prompted Hokie coach Seth Greenberg to come out of his coat, throw it down, come out of the coaches box and scream at officials. No technical was called.

Hansbrough was fouled on the inbounds and sank both free throws for the final 79-76 margin. Vassallo missed a contested three at the buzzer to end it.

The Tar Heels trailed by as many as nine at 26-17 and never led until Ellington hit back-to-back threes from the same spot to put the Heels up 37-36. A short bank shot by Tyler Zeller with five seconds left in the first half gave UNC a 42-41 halftime lead.

In the second half, Carolina led by as many as three points and trailed by as many as six at 66-60 following a Vassallo three midway through the half.

A short jumper inside by Hansbrough tied it at 69-all but Carolina never could take the lead until those Hansbrough free throws with 1:13 to go.

Besides Hansbrough, three other Tar Heels scored in double figures. Ellington had 16, Deon Thompson chipped in 12 and Ed Davis added 10.

Carolina, now 28-3, advances to the ACC semi-finals Saturday afternoon against Florida State.


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