CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -Just about everybody is healthy again for No. 9 North Carolina - and that includes coach Roy Williams.
And once those 3-pointers finally began to fall again, the Tar Heels started feeling even better.
North Carolina overcame a big game from Malcolm Delaney and hit five consecutive 3s to pull away from Virginia Tech 78-64 on Sunday night.
``I've always said we've got to have some (3-pointers). You've got to have a good mix,' said Williams, who finally could ditch the pesky sling he'd worn since his late-November shoulder surgery. ``The best teams have a good mix. We've been trying to have a good mix. We've got a lot of guys that can shoot them. I like the guys that make them.'
Ed Davis had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, and Larry Drew II added 14 points. Deon Thompson and Will Graves added 13 apiece for the Tar Heels (12-4, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They opened the second half with an efficient burst that helped them bounce back from a surprising overtime loss at the College of Charleston, improve to 11-0 at home and avoid losing their ACC opener for the second straight year.
Delaney returned from an ankle injury to score 20 of his 26 points in the first half, and almost single-handedly willed the Hokies (12-2, 0-1) to their second victory in Chapel Hill since joining the league in 2004.
``I'm just really disappointed in who we were in the second half,' coach Seth Greenberg said. ``If that's going to be who we are for 20 minutes of the game, we're not going to be as good as we'd like to be. We can't get where we want to go playing like that.'
Dorenzo Hudson added 14 points on 7-of-22 shooting for Virginia Tech - which had its nine-game winning streak snapped, and lost its fifth straight against ranked opposition.
Graves and freshman Leslie McDonald were listed as questionable two days earlier by Williams with sprained right ankles. But Graves not only started, he hit three timely 3-pointers for the Tar Heels, who started slowly before putting themselves ahead to stay by opening the second half with a 15-6 run keyed by improved effort, efficiency and execution.
They scored on eight of 10 trips downcourt, many on dunks and uncontested layups, and went up 49-44 on Drew's steal and layup with about 14 minutes remaining. The lead grew to 60-52 with just under 8 minutes left on Graves' 3 - just the Tar Heels' second in two games.
Drew hit a 3 with 5 1/2 minutes to play to put North Carolina up 66-55, the first double-figure advantage for either team, and then sent many fans to the exits when his 3 with about 2 minutes left made it 74-59.
``I knew that in the second half, I had to come out with a little bit different mentality, a little different mindset,' Drew said. ``I just looked to attack more.'
The Tar Heels finished 5-for-16 from long range, hitting five straight after an 0-for-11 start, while welcoming back guard Marcus Ginyard to the rotation. The fifth-year senior originally was declared out by Williams with a sprained right ankle, but he decided Saturday that he would try to play and successfully tested his ankle during warm-ups. He didn't start but played 20 important minutes and helped clamp down on Delaney when it counted.
``We really just wanted to make sure we didn't give him anything easy,' Ginyard said. ``Not running into him, not jumping up and getting him to jump into us (but) just try to make it as tough on him as possible.'
Delaney, the ACC's second-leading scorer, tormented them in the first half but had trouble getting clean looks down the stretch. He was 1-for-5 in the second half with the lone field goal coming when the ball was tipped in during a scrum in the lane.
That, after his hot start had many thinking the Smith Center single-game scoring record of 40 points might be in jeopardy.
Delaney, who missed the Seton Hall game eight days earlier with a sprained left ankle, refused to use that injury as an excuse for his second-half struggles.
``I had some easy looks that I didn't make,' he said. ``Shots rimmed out. But they threw fresh defenders at me. My conditioning was good, but it wasn't where it's usually at, so I couldn't run around as much as I usually do.'
Behind Delaney, the Hokies were a one-man show in a surprisingly effective first half. Tech led for virtually the whole way, with Delaney having a hand in eight of his team's 14 field goals, scoring five and assisting on three. He was the only Tech player to score in the final 9 minutes before the break, scoring his team's final 13 points of the half.
But after the break, he had trouble scoring, and the Hokies couldn't stop North Carolina, either.
The Associated Press News Service
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