Miami,Fla - Ty Lawson and North Carolina had one of their most impressive offensive performances of the season at one of the nation's toughest venues.
The No. 3 Tar Heels now look to avoid a letdown as they visit Miami on Sunday, trying to maintain sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the North Carolina -8 point spread favorites for Wednesday’s game against the Miami Current College Basketball Public Betting Information shows that 57% of more than 234 bets for this game have been placed on the North Carolina -8.
North Carolina (22-8, 8-2) is coming off of its fourth straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium after beating archrival and No. 6 Duke 101-87 on Wednesday. All five starters finished in double figures, led by Lawson, who finished with a season-high 25 points - one shy of his career high.
Lawson scored 21 in the second half, when the Tar Heels rallied back from an eight-point halftime deficit and became the first team in 26 years to score 100 points at Cameron. North Carolina, which has the nation's second-highest road-scoring average at 87.7 points, topped 100 for the second time in conference play and seventh time overall.
The Tar Heels now go into Miami looking to protect their one-game lead over Duke in the ACC standings. North Carolina, which started 0-2 in conference play after losses to Boston College and Wake Forest, has won eight straight overall and four consecutive road games by an average of 14 points.
"We didn't panic when we went 0-2," junior guard Wayne Ellington said. "We felt like it was a long, long season left. We knew that we were going to get a chance to make up for it. We just had to take care of our own business."
It helps that North Carolina will have a favorable schedule down the stretch. The Tar Heels play four of their final six games against teams with a .500 record or worse in conference play. The two-time defending ACC regular-season champs close their season at home against Duke.
"There's no laying in the weeds here," senior forward Danny Green said. "There's always a target on our chest every time we play somebody. ... Every time we step on the floor we've got to give it our best shot and work as hard as we possibly can and execute the way we're supposed to."
While North Carolina's visit to Miami won't elicit as hostile a reaction as its last road contest, the Tar Heels will still be expecting another tough game as they look to win their fifth straight over the Hurricanes, who have suffered some frustrating losses recently.
Miami (15-8, 4-6) hasn't played since losing 78-75 in overtime to Duke on Feb. 7. The Tar Heels will be the third consecutive Top 10 opponent for the Hurricanes, who are 2-4 against Top 25 teams.
Miami has dropped four of its last five overall, with three of those losses coming in overtime. In their last game, the Hurricanes held the Blue Devils to 19 first-half points, but squandered a 16-point lead in the second half. Jack McClinton scored a season-high 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including a 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. He scored all seven points in the extra period.
"It's difficult to leave here not winning," said McClinton, who has scored 66 in the last two games. "That's the good thing about basketball - you live to play another game."
McClinton had 21 in Miami's 82-65 loss at North Carolina on Jan. 17. Tyler Hansbrough scored 24 points for the Tar Heels and has averaged 26.2 in five lifetime games against the Hurricanes.
Posted: 2/15/09 3:32AM ET