No. 1 UNC Heads Home With Seventh Straight Road Win

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Roy Williams wasn't interested in staying long after to speak with the media about tonight's convincing 93-71 victory over an overmatched Rutgers team with a sold-out crowd of 8,312 at the RAC, but the North Carolina coach is happy to be headed back home with a 9-0 record and seven straight road victories.

"We feel very fortunate," he said to the handful of reporters that stuck around after Rutgers coach Fred Hill's press conference. "We got them to turn the ball over, and [we] turned it into points at the other end that got us such a working margin that made it hard for them to come back from."

But Williams was also quick to credit a Rutgers team that held the Tar Heels to 42.5 percent from the field for the game.

"I loved Fred's kids," he continued. "They never stopped trying to play, and they competed the whole time."

Sophomore Ty Lawson certainly competed during the 30 minutes of floor time that he saw tonight, dropping in a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting (2-of-5 from three-point range) in addition to six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

"In the first half, he was aggressive and did a great job defensively," Williams said of his standout point guard. "He's having a heck of a year for us. When he attacks the basket, he helps us get some easy baskets, and he also has the ability defensively to really bother the other teams' [point] guard and stop dribble penetration, so he's really having a good year for us."

Preseason Player of the Year favorite Tyler Hansborough came in behind Lawson on the scoring sheet with 20 points and 11 rebounds (and yes, I did predict that he would finish with that mark in my halftime post) but left the game with five minutes left after suffering a mild concussion when he fell to the floor and hit his head on a photographer's knee underneath Rutgers' basket.

"It's the first time in college basketball that a guy has got a concussion with no foul called, " Williams said with a few chuckles from his audience, "and that better be all I say."

The junior forward, however, looked to be relatively fine as he packed up his belongings in the North Carolina locker room and shared his thoughts on the Tar Heels' long stretch away from home.

"It just shows some toughness on our part," Hansbrough said about the seven straight road games. "This is a tough atmosphere, and Coach really pushed us to play hard. I think we worked off of that."

Going up against the 6-foot-9 UNC big man was Hamady Ndiaye, who finished with a game-high four blocks, which ups his season total to 91, to go along with seven rebounds and three points.

In the backcourt, freshman Corey Chandler was the biggest bright spot for Rutgers, finishing with a team-high 23 points and eight rebounds despite committing six turnovers.

"Corey is an extremely talented, athletic and quick kid," Rutgers coach Fred Hill offered about his 6-foot-2 point guard. "He's a scorer and has a scorer's mentality. Certainly you can see he has great ability and great talent. When he figures everything out he's going to be an outstanding player and scorer for us."

Anthony Farmer was Rutgers' other double-digit scorer with 17 points, but between the Tar Heels' defensive physicality and offensive efficiency, the Scarlet Knights never had much of a chance to test UNC's poise in a hostile and rowdy environment.

"There is a reason why they are ranked No. 1 in the country," Hill said of the Tar Heels. "That's an extremely talented ball club. They have great players at every position and great depth. They're a really hard team to slow down. The game plan was to control tempo, but that's a very difficult thing to do. We did it to the best of our ability, but that's a very deep and talented team."

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