As some of you may be aware, I am a huge Tar Heel fan. As such, I am also a huge Ty Lawson fan and as Ty goes, so go the Tar Heels. Last night was no exception.
Lawson absolutely lit up the Zags last night, leaving no doubt at all about the health of his toe or his ability to simply take over and drive the Heel offense.
Lawson scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, and the top seeded Tar Heels owned the Zags 98-77 in route to their 99th tournament victory and a birth in the Elite Eight.
Josh Heytvelt said "If they play like that, they will win the National Championship—they hit every shot and you just can't do anything about it when that happens."
Lawson did not seem slowed at all by his much-discussed toe injury. He breezed past Gonzaga defenders for layups and even took some hard fouls on fast break opportunities but just kept scoring.
Lawson shot 6-of-7 and finished the half with 17 points. The second half started no better for the Zags as Lawson continued to dish the ball to teammates, resulting in easy dunks and a 6-0 run.
North Carolina led by as many as 17 in the first half, and for a while it seemed the Tar Heels might not turn the ball over at all.
The only blemish for North Carolina in the first half—going 9/18 from the line. That gave the Zags a glimmer of hope to stay in the game. The Zags did manage to get the deficit to single digits just before half, but Psycho T scored inside just before the halftime buzzer and Carolina never looked back.
Lawson's ability to run Coach Williams' offense and play within himself is rare in college hoops. He is a true point guard who simply does not turn the ball over. He has an amazing ability to drive and create either shots for himself or opportunities for his teammates to score.
He is arguably the fastest player in Division I and can absolutely fly from one end of the court to the other, pushing Carolina's high octane offense. If he continues his play for the remaining games, I can't see a scenario where Carolina does not cut down the nets.
As Ty Lawson goes, so go the Heels. Flawless at the beginning and composed throughout, The Carolina Tar Heels look destined to become the darlings of not only Tobacco Road, but the darlings of the whole dance.