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December 16, 2007
Hansbrough dominates, injures head in win
Ty Lawson scored a career-high 26 points and Tyler Hansbrough had 20 points and 11 rebounds before leaving when he hit his head and No. 1 North Carolina beat Rutgers 93-71 on Sunday night.PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) --
The Tar Heels (9-0) are off to their best start since 1997-98 when they won their first 17 games on the way to the Final Four.
Hansbrough went to the floor in a sitting position and then hit the back his head against the bottom of the basket support. He stayed down on the floor for a couple of minutes before being helped up by coach Roy Williams and the trainer.
Williams said Hansbrough had a mild concussion and a welt on the side of his head.
Freshman Corey Chandler had 23 points for the Scarlet Knights (7-4), who had won three of their last four, the loss coming at Nebraska.
Rutgers, which came in averaging 65.8 points, spread the floor of offense, trying to use as much of the shot clock as possible. It was a great strategy against a team like the Tar Heels, who came in averaging 89.9 points.
The problem for Rutgers was that its young guards had trouble completing passes 25 to 30 feet from the basket. The Tar Heels picked them off to start easy fastbreak baskets that allowed them to pull away early.
North Carolina finished with 14 steals and Rutgers committed 20 turnovers, which the Tar Heels converted into 30 points.
This was the last of four straight road games and six in a row away from home for the Tar Heels. They started their trip with wins in Las Vegas over Old Dominion and Brigham Young and then beat Ohio State, Kentucky and Pennsylvania on their homecourts.
It was also North Carolina's first game after taking 12 days off for final exams.
The last time North Carolina played a game in New Jersey the Tar Heels left feeling as bad about a loss as a team could. They had a 10-point lead with 6 minutes left over Georgetown but lost in overtime in the East Regional final at the Meadowlands, about 40 miles away.
Hansbrough was one of the players many expected to leave early for the NBA, but the 6-foot-9 forward returned for his junior year, one of the biggest reasons the Tar Heels were No. 1 in the preseason poll, a spot they have held onto.
Lawson's previous career high was 23 points this season against Old Dominion.
It was the Tar Heels' ninth straight win in the series. The Scarlet Knights won the first meeting between the schools in the 1920-21 season. North Carolina beat Rutgers 87-48 at home last season.
Lawson had five steals -- he was only credited with four -- that he turned into layups, including a three-point play that made it 39-23 with 2:26 left in the half. That play was part of a 9-0 run that gave North Carolina its first 20-point lead, 43-23 with 1:24 left.
North Carolina scored 21 points off Rutgers' 12 first-half turnovers and the Tar Heels had 10 fastbreak points. Because the Scarlet Knights were playing their deliberate offense, they managed just two points off turnovers and didn't have a point on the fast break.
The Tar Heels opened the second half on an 8-2 run to go up 55-28 with 17:48 to play.
Their largest lead was 73-44.
The loss was Rutgers' first in seven home games this season and it dropped the Scarlet Knights to 0-10 against teams ranked No. 1.
The highest-ranked team the Scarlet Knights have ever beaten was No. 6 West Virginia on Feb. 27, 1982.