Friday, March 9, 2007

Hansbrough struggles with mask

While Florida State’s Jerel Allen shot two free throws late in the first half, North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough stood in position to rebound and fidgeted with the straps that hold the protective mask on his face.

Hansbrough, who was wearing the mask to protect his broken nose, said earlier this week that he would cast it aside if it bothered him. That didn’t happen in the first half, at least, of North Carolina’s ACC tournament opener against Florida State.

With all eyes on him, Hansbrough scored just two points in 14 first-half minutes, shooting 1-for-5 from the field and grabbing three rebounds. He didn’t shy away from contact much, though.

There were some angry words exchanged after he got tangled up with Allen under the basket after Allen fouled him. North Carolina coach Roy Williams had a conversation with referee Les Jones after the play as the teams came to the basket for a timeout.

Minutes later, Hansbrough was called for his second personal foul for going over the back of Florida State’s Uche Echefu. Williams waved both hands at the referees in disbelief.

Williams understandably seemed protective of Hansbrough after Duke freshman Gerald Henderson’s forearm broke Hansbrough’s nose Sunday. But there were times before that incident when Williams inexplicably protested even obvious calls against Hansbrough, particularly traveling violations.

Those protests likely will be louder after what happened against Duke because the coach will want to prevent further injury to Hansbrough.

As for the mask, Hansbrough fidgeted with it some more, putting his hands up to his nose. When he came to the bench after that second foul 1:52 before halftime, he took it off.

But he was wearing it again as he came out of the locker room for the second half with North Carolina leading 36-26.

– Ken Tysiac


Hailey Wright said...

I totally agree. I was thinking, "He was fidgeting with his mask a little too much," The announcers kept saying it was bothering him, and of course it was bothering him!
I just thank you for posting something on the matter.

JAT said...


You saw why Gerald Suspenderson should sit out for as long as Tyler is crippled by the attack.

Anonymous said...

Geez. Like it wasn't a psychological thorn in the side of all of the Tarheels opponents for Hansbrough to be wearing that mask? Puleeze. I was a tactic that Roy played quite well, thank you very much. . . Let's all feel sorry for the poor kid who just wants to play ball! Nevermind that we've witnessed Hansbrough sissy-slapping and brat-like bullying and mouthing at other players in the Conference all season long. I don't believe Henderson whacked him on purpose, but I do believe there a ton of fans (and other players) who wished they could've taken a shot at Hansbrough themselves.

Poor wittle Tyler.

Trust me, he and Roy-bo's squad played it smart. . . asking for pity, using psychological tactics with that darm mask, and cuddling up to the refs as part of their strategy to win the Championship tourney. Roy did a good job all tourney long of trying to make it look like he didn't get along with the refs, but it was almost blatant, this display of "I don't like you very much, refs!"

Gotta hand it to Roy, he's a smart coach to use the refs like he did to win that game. Good job, Roy. You make the Master of it All, El Deano Beano, proud!

Go get 'em Tarholes!