“It was a great win,” Brandan Wright said. “You’ve got to protect your own court in the ACC. A lot of home teams lost yesterday, and we didn’t want to be one of those teams.”
Carolina’s post-tandem of Tyler Hansbrough (8-12 FG, 9-10 FT, 25 pts.) and Brandan Wright (9-13 FG, 2-2 FT, 20 pts.) dominated down low, as the Tar Heels converted over twice as many field goals in the paint as FSU (28-12).
It was the fourth time Wright has scored 20 or more.
“When we get the ball to those two guys, it usually means good things for us,” Williams said.
With 13 rebounds, Hansbrough registered his fourth double-double of the season and the 10th of his career. Twenty of his points came in the second half.
“I just felt like in the second half things were going well for me and I got in a groove and I just kept going at it aggressively,” Hansbrough said. “It was a combination of my tendency of getting the ball and getting good looks, posting up well and my teammates getting me the ball.”
After an almost even first half from a shooting percentage standpoint, Carolina burst out of the locker room ahead just 36-30 to rattle off a 15-6 run. The Tar Heels also scored the final 10 points of the game, out-shooting FSU 52 percent to 29 in the final 20 minutes.
“We want to play at a fast tempo, but that does not mean we want to take quick shots; we want to take great shots,” Roy Williams said. “I think we did a much better job of that in the second half. In the first half we took some bad shots. We were shooting it too quickly. That was the whole emphasis at halftime.”
UNC has eclipsed 50 percent field goal shooting in the second half of 11 games this year including the last six in a row.
“Usually I try to come up with some kind of rhyme or reason as to why we lost a game,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “The truth of the matter is, we got beat by a much better basketball team. This team is going to be a handful, but the thing is, they’ve still got a lot of room for improvement. They execute their offense very well and they’re doing what Roy wants them to. This might be the year we’re glad we’re not playing them but one time.”
Carolina committed just 10 turnovers and has 45 assists against 20 miscues over its last two contests.
Reyshawn Terry was held scoreless for the first time since UNC’s loss at Southern Cal last year, but he pulled down seven rebounds, dished for three assists and blocked a pair of shots.
Quentin Thomas has seven assists without a turnover since returning from injury two games ago.
Ty Lawson’s four steals matched his team-high for the season, while Wayne Ellington had a season-high five assists.
The second-ranked Tar Heels (14-1, 1-0 ACC) are poised to take over the nation’s top spot this week for the first time during the regular season since 2000-01, a situation Williams said he would rather be in at the end of the year.
“Frankly my dear…,” Williams said, partially quoting Gone with the Wind’s Rhett Butler. “I’ve been number one before, but if you don’t finish that way it doesn’t mean what people remember. It says at this point in the year we’re doing alright.”
The Seminoles (12-4, 0-2) were led by Al Thornton’s game-high 29 points.
Carolina hosts Virginia (9-4, 1-0 ACC) Wednesday at 9 p.m.