CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Tyler Hansbrough was all alone grabbing a
rebound in the layup line before the game when he slipped and fell.
It was about the only time he failed Tuesday night.
Hansbrough scored 29 points and No. 2 North Carolina pulled away
in the second half to beat pesky Sacred Heart 103-81 in the opening
round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Hansbrough, the leading vote getter on The Associated Press
preseason All-America team, hit 11-of-14 shots and routinely scored
over double teams for the Tar Heels (1-0), who advanced to play on
Wednesday against Winthrop, which beat Iona 57-38 in the late game.
But Hansbrough was still red in the face over his pregame
"I got a rebound, someone had shot a layup, and my shoelace had
a big loop in it," Hansbrough said. "My other foot went right
into that loop and I took a fall. I stayed there for a second to
see if anyone had seen me. But then everybody was laughing. I got
up and couldn't play it off."
But then coach Roy Williams cut him off.
"He didn't fall too many times when he was on the court,"
Reyshawn Terry scored all 18 of his points in the second half,
while freshmen Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson scored
10 points apiece for North Carolina, which shot 59 percent to
improve to 85-12 in season openers.
Luke Granato hit eight 3-pointers and scored 24 points and Drew
Shubik added 13 for the Pioneers (0-2), who stayed with the Tar
Heels for a half despite being undermanned down low.
North Carolina opened the season with high expectations as it
returned four starters from last year's 23-win team, but also had
one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.
Two of North Carolina's McDonald's All-American trio, Ellington
and Wright, started and the third, Lawson saw significant time
backing up point guard Bobby Frasor.
"I think Brandan and Wayne have really picked things up more
quickly than the other guys," Williams said. "Ty is going to be
fine. He adds an extra dimension that others don't have with that
speed, but he hasn't learned as quickly as the others. I was
ranting and raving at him tonight because twice in a row he didn't
Sacred Heart hit 6-of-13 3-pointers in the first half, including
Tavio Hobson's 3 at the buzzer, to cut North Carolina's lead to
42-37 even though Hansbrough was 8-for-8 from the field.
Shubik's 3 to start the second half cut the deficit to two and
Sacred Heart, in its sixth season in Division I, was thinking big.
"Coach always tells us the impossible happens every day. You
can't believe this team beat that team," Shubik said. "It got the
team pumped up, but..."
Shubik's voice trailed off because the Tar Heels responded with
a 19-5 run to take control by dumping the ball inside to
The 6-foot-9 sophomore kept muscling his way through multiple
defenders, and when he wasn't scoring he was getting fouled, where
he made 7-of-12 free throws. After one made basket that resulted in
a 3-point play, Sacred Heart's Liam Potter was left holding his
arms up in the air in disbelief.
Terry then made three straight baskets -- the last two thunderous
dunks -- to get the pro-North Carolina crowd on its feet and Sacred
Heart's upset chances were over.
"I think it's hard on the players. Losing doesn't help you,"
said Pioneers coach Dave Bike, who lost starting forward Ryon
Howard to a knee injury. "I do think for the university, we put on
a good show. The best thing it probably does is if we're fortunate
enough to improve and make the NCAA tournament, we've already
played an NCAA tournament team."
The Tar Heels led by as many as 25 points late and Williams got
to work on his intended fast-break style as 14 players saw time.
"They know what to do, but they have to build habits,"
Williams said of his young players. "In high school they were so
much quicker and athletic and they could loaf a little defensively.
At this level they are playing guys just as quick. They have to