CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)—The margin kept growing with each possession, whether by 3-pointers or transition dunks that provided the only spark for an otherwise listless crowd that ultimately headed home early.
Such is life for third-ranked North Carolina these days—a team so talented that it can’t even keep its own fans in the seats for an entire game.
Tyler Hansbrough scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Wednesday night to lead the Tar Heels past Miami 105-64, giving them five straight wins by lopsided margins as they head into a pair of road games against instate rivals.
Wayne Ellington scored 14 points for the Tar Heels (20-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who look like they feel a little invincible each game.
“I wouldn’t say invincible at all,” said freshman Brandan Wright, who had eight points as one of 12 players to score for North Carolina. “We’ve got a lot of guys who are playing well and contributing.”
North Carolina overwhelmed the Hurricanes (9-13, 2-6), who upset the Tar Heels here last season. North Carolina shot 56 percent, including 61 percent after halftime. The Tar Heels hit 12 of 24 3-pointers. They had 26 assists on 36 baskets. They took a 49-24 rebounding advantage. They matched their season-high scoring output and cracked the 100-point mark for the sixth time this year.
Ty Lawson had 13 points, while Danny Green added 12 and Reyshawn Terry had 10. Wright finished with seven rebounds and four blocks, while senior reserve Quentin Thomas had a career-high eight assists with one turnover.
The Tar Heels also got a boost with the return of sophomore guard Bobby Frasor, who had missed the past four games with a right-foot injury. Frasor was scoreless with two assists in 9 minutes.
It was quite a way to follow up their most impressive performance of the season, a 92-64 win at then-No. 17 Arizona despite playing without three top players. The Tar Heels didn’t look quite that efficient early on, but they still head into games at North Carolina State and eighth-ranked Duke brimming with confidence.
“I’d rather go in playing well than playing sorry,” coach Roy Williams said. “I think the kids understand in this league it’s got to be every game. You’ve got to be ready to play in this league every night.”
And Williams won’t let his team back off now.
“Sometimes you can lose focus,” Wright admitted of the big leads. “But Coach emphasizes every timeout, ‘Keep your foot on the gas.”’
At the other end, the Hurricanes could do little to slow them. Anthony Harris scored 18 points and hit three 3s to lead Miami, which shot 36 percent and fell behind by as many as 43 points late to lose its fifth straight league game.
Miami coach Frank Haith was ejected after being whistled for his second technical foul after reacting to a no-call on a block by Hansbrough with 7:48 left. The call came just before an official timeout and the Tar Heels leading 73-51, allowing Haith to walk to the Tar Heels huddle and shake Williams’ hand before leaving the court.
“I think they’re the best team in the country,” Haith said. “They come at you in waves. … He’s got a team. Trust me, he’s got a team.”
The Tar Heels led 33-23 when they got a spurt just before halftime to build a comfortable margin. Ellington hit a pair of 3s in the final minute, while Green added two free throws to on Haith’s first technical to give the Tar Heels a 41-24 lead at the break.
North Carolina put it away with a dazzling 3-minute spurt early after the break, going on a 15-3 run fueled by its lethal transition game. Lawson and Wes Miller each knocked down 3s, while Thomas assisted on layups by Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard to make it 62-35 with 12:23 left.
The Tar Heels poured it on the rest of the way, surpassing the 100-point mark on a 3-pointer from reserve Dewey Burke with 1:10 left.
Afterward, they were promising they wouldn’t let up.
“I think Coach pretty much keeps our heads on straight,” Hansbrough said. “We still look at things we want to improve on.”