Heels Hotfoot it to First Place in the ACC

By David Scott - February 18, 2007

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - It’s hardly an accident the North Carolina Tar Heels average the second most points in the country, to the tune of 88 points per game. Coach Roy Williams prides himself and his teams on running, gunning and generally causing mayhem on both ends of the floor.

Still, after all these years of Roy Ball, it is an impressive sight to behold when the momentarily jubilant opponent converts a basket and Williams’ charges charge up the court on the fast break. On many occasions, the shot clock appears to barely have time to re-set and UNC is already attempting - and often making - a shot at the offensive end. The jubilation turns to consternation pretty quickly.

“We work on it all the time,” said Williams after his No. 4 Heels assumed first place in the ACC with a hard-fought 77-72 win over No. 21 (and dropping out of the Top 25) Boston College. “We have a contest in practice for our big guys to get the ball out of the hoop and (advance it) down the floor. (Whoever does it quickest) gets a reward.”

The reward on Saturday night was consistently demoralizing the Eagles with fast breaks and baskets that were scored in 10 seconds or under.

“(UNC Point guard) Ty (Lawson’s) got a tremendous motor,” said Williams. “He was a tough little nut tonight. There was one point in the second half, where they made a basket to cut it to two and Ty attacked (at the other end).”

The play, which William called "key," came after a made lay-up by BC’s Sean Marshall with 11:18 left in the game. Three second later - literally - Lawson was at the other end of the floor getting hacked by Tyrelle Blair and then converting two free throws to maintain the Tar Heel lead.

“You just have to get out as quick as you can and then I look for either (Reyshawn Terry) or Wayne (Ellington) on the wings,” explained Lawson who finished 13 points, seven assists (three turnovers) six rebounds and one steal in 33 minutes. “Tonight, there were like three or four times when they scored and we raced down and scored right away. It’s got to be kind of de-moralizing for them.”

Kind of? Try definitely.

“That’s what Ty does, he just pushes it up,” said Ellington, who finished with 13 points on 4 of 6 from the field (1 of 2 from beyond the arc).

“Ty’s very quick,” understated Tyler Hansborough, who led five Tar Heels in double figures with 17 points and seven rebounds. “I see him every day in practice so it’s one of those things I’m used to.”

You can be sure the rest of the nation is not quite so used to such warp speed and Williams knows it.

“That’s the way we’ve got to be,” said Williams.

And if they are that way, the Tar Heels will find themselves in Atlanta for the final weekend of this college basketball season. And you can bet, they will get their quickly.

. . . Bizarre note of the night: This was the third time this season that the Tar Heels have followed a loss with a road victory over a ranked opponent.

Posted by David Scott at 12:19 AM on February 18, 2007

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