Tar Heels' key reserve Frasor suffers season-ending knee injury in win

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Top-ranked North Carolina's latest lopsided victory didn't matter much in the locker room. Not after the Tar Heels lost a key contributor for the rest of the season.

Tyler Hansbrough scored 26 points and Wayne Ellington added a career-high 23 to help North Carolina beat Nevada 106-70 on Thursday night, but the Tar Heels lost junior guard Bobby Frasor to a knee injury in the second half.

Frasor tore his left anterior cruciate ligament when his leg gave way while he was trying to make a steal near the sideline with 9:47 to play. He immediately clutched his knee when he went down before limping to the locker room. He did not return and will require surgery.

The injury robs the Tar Heels (12-0) of a versatile veteran who can play either guard position and provides defense and leadership off the bench.

"He can handle this," an emotional coach Roy Williams said. "It's not going to be easy. It's not easy for any of us right now. I told the team it should put things in perspective that every day you don't take things for granted."

The injury overshadowed another solid performance from the Tar Heels, who ran off 19 straight points spanning halftime and cracked the 100-point mark for the fifth time this season. North Carolina is off to its best start since winning 17 straight to open the 1997-98 season.

Ty Lawson had 16 points and turned in a terrific all-around floor game -- which included career-highs of 10 assists and five steals -- while the Tar Heels shot 54 percent for the game, including 9-of-18 on 3-pointers. North Carolina had a 45-33 rebounding advantage against the Wolf Pack (7-5), leading to 22 second-chance points.

Ellington didn't start for the first time this season after travel problems forced him to miss his flight back from Philadelphia and kept him out of Wednesday's practice. He finished 8-for-12 from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range.

"On the court, it was a really good night for us," Williams said.

Armon Johnson scored a career-high 23 points to lead Nevada, which had won five straight games and hung close with the Tar Heels until late in the first half. But that was before Lawson kicked North Carolina's offense into high gear with a dazzling personal run.

His layup off a turnover gave the Tar Heels a 43-35 lead with 48 seconds left in the half. Then, after a tip-in by Alex Stepheson, Lawson struck again with a steal and a transition dunk.

Finally, he rebounded an airballed jumper and raced the length of the court -- slowing just long enough to pass to Deon Thompson before getting the ball right back -- for a layup just before the horn to make it 49-35.

The Tar Heels picked up where they left off to start the second half with Hansbrough's jumper over the 7-foot JaVale McGee. Lawson then assisted on a jumper from Ellington and scored again on a steal and layup before Ellington closed the spurt with a 3-pointer to make it 60-35 with 17 minutes left.

Nevada got no closer than 20 points the rest of the game.

"We lost to a great team, but we need to grow up," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "There's no shame in losing to Carolina, but we didn't play our best basketball and you have to give Carolina credit for causing that."

Frasor, who came in averaging 3.0 points, had five points in 10 minutes, including two backcourt steals on the fullcourt press just before his injury. It is a second straight injury-marred season for Frasor, who was limited much of 2006-07 with a nagging right foot problem.

It was clear his teammates were struggling with the severity of Frasor's latest injury.

"It's hard to describe what's going through your head, first when you see Bobby fall and see him grab his leg," junior Marcus Ginyard said. "To see him get up was a big sigh of relief, but coming into the locker room and hearing Coach tell us what happened ... it's just hard to describe. It's painful for us to hear."

Frasor's absence could mean longer stretches for Lawson, a speedy sophomore who powers North Carolina's fast-paced attack. Senior Quentin Thomas, a rookie on the Tar Heels' national championship team in 2005, will likely see more minutes.

"Bobby has been here three years now and he's been through it all," Thomas said. "You can't replace that as an individual. The only thing that can replace that is the team picking up its intensity."