|Two possessions do it for North Carolina|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 06 April 2009 17:50|
Block, 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.
s 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 Ed Davis blocked it and came up with the rebound. Davis dished off to Ty Lawson and, when Lawson missed a jumper, was right there again to collect the rebound and score on the putback.
There was a Tar Heel or two who hadn't even gotten across midcourt when Lawson stripped Draymond Green. Bobby Frasor missed a 3, but Wayne 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.
ally fell short, and Lawson, Ellington, Tyler 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 Deon Thompson loose.
Davis finished with 11 points, only his second double-figure performance of the tournament and seventh of the season. Thompson had nine points - all in the first half.
Lawson finished with 21 points and six assists, while Hansbrough had 18 and seven rebounds. Ellington finished with 19 points.