Thursday, November 27, 2008

Parting shots from Maui: Hansbrough still rusty?

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Top ranked North Carolina planned to eat Thanksgiving dinner and perhaps enjoy a little beach time and cliff diving before flying back to Chapel Hill later today, with the Maui Invitational title in tow.
Some final thoughts after watching the Tar Heels throttle No. 8 Notre Dame 102-87 in the finale:

* If Tyler Hansbrough thinks he's still out of shape, imagine what he'll look like when he scrubs the rest of the rust off. His 34 points marked the sixth 30-plus point performance of his career, and he now needs only 60 more points to break Phil Ford's career scoring record at UNC.

* Coach Roy Williams likes to play in the Maui Invitational because it has such a challenging field; playing here this year, he said, was as valuable as ever. "I think it’s extremely important for each and every team to have challenges each and every day," he said. "And I think coming to a tournament and playing three days in a row like this is extremely important for any team. Every team that comes and plays in the tournament has an opportunity to improve. We faced zone, we faced man, we faced the press, we faced a myriad of different styles that I think will help us out later on."

* It’s safe to say that small forward Danny Green has adapted to his starting role. The senior had the best two scoring days of his career
(26 and 21 points) during the first two games of the tournament, then added eight points and six rebounds in the finale to be named to the All-Tournament team.

* Who knew Deon Thompson could be so aggressive? The junior power forward pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds, plus 19 points, in the finale, but also threw down a pair of rousing dunks during a first- half 12-2 run; on one, he grabbed a rebound at the free throw line and took it down the lane for the slam.

* The championship game may have been a runaway, but it wasn’t without its intense moments. At one point in the second half, freshman Ed Davis didn’t get back on defense, allowing Notre Dame big man Luke Harangody to score an easy basket. Williams’ response: a slam to the scorer’s table that echoed all the way through the tiny Lahaina Civic Center. (Think he wants this team to improve defensively?)

— Robbi Pickeral, (Raleigh) News & Observer