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North Carolina simply too tough for Kentucky

December 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

Every time Tyler Hansbrough caught the ball in the post, Kentucky's players swarmed around him, swatting at the ball.

The North Carolina big man did not retaliate to the bruising. He responded at the free-throw line.

Hansbrough made 10 of 12 free throws as the top-ranked Tar Heels capitalized on Kentucky's 25 fouls and beat the Wildcats, 86-77, Saturday at Lexington, Ky.

It was their fourth consecutive win in the annual matchup between college basketball's winningest programs.

"I've never coached a player who takes as much physical abuse as he does," North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said of his star.

"He's a bull in the china shop, and all those pieces of china like to hit back."

The Tar Heels are off to a 7-0 start for the first time under Williams and the first time since the 1998-99 team started 8-0.

Kentucky is now 4-2 under new Coach Billy Gillispie.

With Hansbrough closely guarded, reserve Danny Green led the Tar Heels with a career-high 20 points.

The plan to crowd Hansbrough backfired on the Wildcats, who struggled to generate much rhythm against North Carolina's physical and quick attack.

For the third year in a row, Kentucky used a swarm defense to largely limit Hansbrough from the field. Unlike the last two years, in which he scored a combined 13 points, Hansbrough was a force at the line.

He finished with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.

Gillispie suggested that Hansbrough wasn't the innocent victim on all those fouls.

"I think sometimes the offensive player may initiate more contact than the casual fan may think," Gillispie said.

Harvard scored the last 11 points after Michigan pulled into a tie to give Tommy Amaker a 62-51 victory at Cambridge, Mass., over the school that fired him after six seasons without a berth in the NCAA Division I tournament.

In front of a rare sellout crowd at the small, 2,050-seat Ivy League gym chanting "We got Tommy! We got Tommy!" Harvard responded to a run by the Wolverines by shutting them out after DeShawn Sims tied the score at 51-51 with a layup with 3:38 remaining.

"Obviously, a very meaningful game for our program," Amaker said. "I want to emphasize that and not get into personal things."

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