College Basketball: Virginia Tech at North Carolina – Carolina Favored
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While revenge could be a factor for No. 4 North Carolina heading into its game Tuesday against Virginia Tech, a share of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a victory may provide greater motivation.
The Tar Heels (22-3, 8-2 ACC) are one-half game behind No. 21 Boston College in the ACC, and a win over the Hokies (17-7, 7-3) – who beat them 94-88 on Jan. 13 in Blacksburg, Va. – would move North Carolina into a tie for first.
A loss would create a three-way tie for second behind the Eagles.
North Carolina has won seven of its eight games since the loss at Virginia Tech, and is coming off a 104-67 rout of Wake Forest on Saturday. Rayshawn Terry scored a season-high 23 points for the Heels, who shot 61 percent from the field in the first half and topped 100 points for the seventh time.
"I thought that we were pretty dog gone good during that time period," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams about the final seven minutes of the first half. "Again, I think it was about three and a half minutes where we didn’t score and they came and took the lead. After that we were really good. We were really good on both ends of the court."
The Tar Heels are 14-0 at the Smith Center, averaging 91.9 points and outscoring opponents by 30 points per game. In five ACC home games, North Carolina has limited teams to 63.8 points per game and 38.4 percent shooting.
North Carolina power forward Tyler Hansbrough, the team’s leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, has averaged 19.5 points and 12.0 rebounds in two career games versus Virginia Tech, and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in the first meeting this season.
The Hokies – whose January win ended an 18-game losing streak to the Tar Heels – are making their first visit to Chapel Hill, N.C., since an 88-75 loss on Dec. 6, 1975. But Virginia Tech is carrying momentum from an 84-57 rout of in-state rival Virginia on Saturday.
Jamon Gordon had 15 points, six assists and five steals for the Hokies, who avoided their third straight defeat. A.D. Vassallo and Deron Washington each added 22 points as Virginia Tech overcame foul trouble to leading scorer Zabian Dowdell, who had a season-low five points in 15 minutes.
"We needed this win," Gordon told the team’s official Web site. "This was a ‘must’ win for us because we’re going to Chapel Hill next and you never know how it’s going to turn out down there. It was a must win for us."
Vassallo is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game, but the Hokies are 7-0 when he makes three or more 3-pointers in a game. The sophomore guard leads the team with 48 3-pointers made and is shooting 45.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Dowdell scored 23 points and Gordon added 17 in the first game between the teams, when the Hokies scored 20 points off 17 North Carolina turnovers.
The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 55-11, including a 2-1 mark since Virginia Tech joined the ACC. The Hokies have not won at Chapel Hill since an 81-75 victory on Feb. 12, 1966.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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