Sometimes you have to and the Heels did tonight absorbing some body blows from a desperate Hokie team very much needing a win to try and make the NCAA Tournament. And it also looks like Tyler Hansbrough has gotten his groove back scoring 22 and rebounding like he was trying to break a record or something. 15 boards to be exact as Hansbrough effectively anchored the despite Danny Green shooting 2-10. Wayne Ellington got off early and made some key baskets. Ty Lawson did a little bit of everything though it seemed like he was having a quiet night. That turned out not to be the case as Lawson went for 22. It was probably the fact he missed all four threes he took that threw me off. Deon Thompson had a nice game. Only eight points but he hit a couple of baskets at key points and five of his rebounds were on the offensive end.
Ed Davis had a monster game on the defensive end blocking six shots. Davis' normal rebounding numbers were not there, perhaps because Hansbrough was like Pac-Man out there on the boards. Despite that, Davis put together a nice game on both ends and proving he could be a key player in the NCAA Tournament. The same could not be said of Tyler Zeller who only played three minutes. No word from Roy in the postgame as to why his minutes were limited.
Complaints? The defense was hot and cold. At times they could lock down and on other ocassions Hokie players got too many easy paths to the basket and made good on it. Virginia Tech 19-36 on layups and dunks. The percentage on that number is not nearly as important as the fact they had 36 shots that close in. Conversely the Hokies were 11-34 on jumpers and 5-19 from threee point range. In other words when UNC kept VT out of the lane, they got stops otherwise the possession did not end well for the Heels. The consensus is that UNC can get away being hot and cold on defense as long as they gets stops when they need them. It felt like they did that in this one through the tougher part of the game. The only other issue that was really bothersome was the late fouls when UNC had the game in hand. The last thing you want to do is put a team on the line allowing them to score with the clock stopped. UNC did that at least four possessions. The good news is that sort of thing is easily corrected and probably not likely to happen again.
In the end, UNC scored some toughness points on the road and took care of business. This was a high stakes game for both teams and the Heels found a way to win. Take and move on to face Duke in a game that will determine who the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament will be.