|2 possessions do it for North Carolina|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 06 April 2009 18:14|
Rebound, rebound, putback. Strip, rebound, putback.
Those two possessions, lasting all of 33 seconds early in the first half, put the Tar Heels in control and Michigan State never recovered. Oh, the Spartans managed to rally in the second half - or as much a rally as it can be when it cuts the deficit to 13 - but that early display removed any doubt that North Carolina really is the best team in the country.
Speed, power, athleticism, depth - the Tar Heels had it all. And now they have a fifth NCAA title, their second in five years, after a 89-72 thrashing of Michigan State on Monday night.
nding player of the tournament, added 19.
But the Tar Heels (34-4) got plenty of other contributions. Freshman Ed Davis finished with 11 points, only his eighth double-figure performance of the season. Deon Thompson finished with nine points - all in the first half.
North Carolina embarrassed the Spartans on this very floor in December, a 35-point victory that was Michigan State's most lopsided loss since 1996, Tom Izzo's first year as a coach. This game was supposed to be different. Not only did the Spartans have big man Goran Suton back, but they were a different team than they were even three weeks ago.
They bulldozed overall No. 1 Louisville in the Midwest Regional final, running at the Cardinals from the opening tip. Did the same thing to another top seed, Connecticut, in the Final Four on Saturday night. They were fierce, physical and utterly relentless, never giving either opponent a chance to find any kind of groove.
Now they know how the Cardinals and the Huskies feel.
Only five minutes into the game, Kalin Lucas sprinted for a fast-break layup that would have pulled the Spartans within single digits and might have given them some momentum. But he missed, and Ed Davis came up with the rebound. Davis dished off to Lawson and, when Lawson missed a jumper, was right there again to collect the rebound and score on the putback.
midcourt when Lawson stripped Draymond Green. Bobby Frasor missed a 3, but Ellington grabbed the ball and scored on a layup.
With 14:26 still to play in the first half, North Carolina had a 14-point lead and the game was as good as over.
This, after all, is the same North Carolina team that was the favorite to win NCAA title last season, only to fall behind 40-12 to Kansas in the first half of the Final Four. A furious rally fell short, and Lawson, Ellington and Hansbrough and the rest of the gang came back.
Given another chance, they were determined to have a much better ending. So even when the Spartans could corral Hansbrough and Ellington, the Tar Heels simply turned Davis and Thompson loose.