Nov. 25, 2005
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - David Noel scored six of his 14 points during the decisive run and freshman Tyler Hansbrough added 15 points and 11 rebounds, helping North Carolina remain unbeaten with a 83-66 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Friday night.
Next up for the Tar Heels (3-0) is a rematch of last season's NCAA championship game against Illinois, which comes Tuesday night as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Of course, calling it a rematch is pretty generous, since neither team much resembles the one that made a run through the tournament.
North Carolina lost its top seven scorers and became the first defending champ to start the next season unranked since 1988-89. The 15th-ranked Illini (4-0), without departed stars Deron Williams, Roger Powell Jr. and Luther Head, barely beat Wichita State Friday in the South Padre Island Invitational. Illinois needed a layup in the final seconds from Warren Carter to win 55-54.
But none of that matters to the Tar Heels, who simply are trying to develop some chemistry with an inexperienced rotation that includes four freshmen. Hansbrough got the first double-double of his college career in this one, and fellow rookie Bobby Frasor appears to be setting in at point guard, finishing with 12 points and six assists against the Gauchos (2-1).
Momentum swung North Carolina's way early in the second half, shortly after Frasor was called for traveling. He had lost control of a high dribble before poking the ball to a teammate, and referee Mike Wood blew his whistle for an infraction.
That incensed Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, who jumped off the bench to go nose-to-nose with Wood. Play was stopped for a media timeout, but the "discussion" continued for several seconds until Williams finally had his say.
Perhaps spurred on by the coach, Noel took control. He converted assists from Quentin Thomas into layups on consecutive possessions, then stymied Santa Barbara on the other end with a pair of steals. Noel got another basket from in close before ending his personal spurt by tipping out a missed free throw by Hansbrough.
The extra hustle eventually led to two points for Hansbrough, and North Carolina led 61-43. The margin reached 20 for the first time on Marcus Ginyard's layup, and the Gauchos never recovered.