“It was just one of those nights where everything seemed to be falling for us,” said Hansbrough, who played just 19 minutes. “They competed, but the ball just fell in the hole for us.”
It was the sixth time this season and the 19th time in his career that Hansbrough has scored 20 or more points.
Brandan Wright added 15 points, a game-high eight rebounds and three blocks. Reyshawn Terry and Wayne Ellington each scored 14. And Ty Lawson had eight assists and four steals to go with his 11 points.
Carolina’s starting front line of Hansbrough, Wright and Terry combined on 16-of-20 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range by Terry. In his last five games, Terry is 12-for-18 from beyond the arc.
The Tar Heels’ 23 assists was a season-high.
“I loved just about everything we did,” Roy Williams said. “We started to build on some defensive play against Asheville on Saturday. They had difficulty getting looks at the basket in the first half.”
So much for professional nepotism, as Williams went to his bench early. He pulled his final starter Reyshawn Terry with 10:11 remaining. But with the Tar Heels’ depth, it did little to ease the task at hand for his former player at Kansas Rex Walters, the FAU first-year head coach.
“We’re going to continue to play hard no matter what the score is,” Ellington said. “That’s just the kind of team we are.”
In a game not as close as the final score indicated, things may not have been quite as bad for the Owls if they had available their two leading scorers, Paul Graham and Carlos Monroe.
“[Walters] didn’t have the weapons we had, but that youngster is going to be great college coach,” Williams said. “After the game I told him it’s hard, but try to be positive.”
Ahead 10-5 in the game’s early stages, UNC (9-1) exploded for a 24-0 run. Florida Atlantic (4-6) didn’t score again until there was 8:57 remaining in the first half.
“We’ve been working really hard on defense,” Lawson said. “We’ve been working on denying and making it hard to change sides. They weren’t able to do what they wanted and run their plays.”
The Tar Heels shot a sizzling 74 percent from the floor – their highest mark in a half since 2000 – prior to taking a 65-18 lead into intermission. Insult joined injury when Ellington drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to cap Carolina’s largest halftime advantage in school history.
The 47-point margin topped the previous school record of 43 (67-24) against Manhattan on Dec. 27, 1985 in Miami.
The 65 points scored by Carolina was its highest output in a half this year.
With the baseline student section chanting “sausage biscuits,” Wes Miller was halfway to the nearest Bojangles when he nailed a long distance three to make it 101-39 With 5:05 to play.
The Tar Heels’ largest lead of the game was 66 points (94-28).
UNC travels to St. Louis (9-2), of the Atlantic 10 Conference, on Friday in what will be Hansbrough’s homecoming game. Williams jokingly warned the Poplar Bluff (Mo.) police to be on high alert since, he said, “Everyone in town will be at the game.”
“I’m really excited,” Hansbrough said. “I’ve talked to pretty much all of my friends. It’s going to be great to go back and play a game around my hometown.”