Tyler Hansbrough Delivers: Michigan State's Chance at Destiny Falls Short
Four years ago, at the end of an outstanding freshman year, Tyler Hansbrough made a statement. All he wanted to do was win a National Title for his head coach Roy Williams and the University of North Carolina.
Well, he had his chance Monday night, against a team that seemed to be surrounded by destiny...the Michigan State Spartans.
The Spartans, led by sophomore Kalin Lucas, seemed to be the team of destiny, playing with basically home court advantage, beating two one seeds and the defending national champs on their way.
A record setting crowd of 72,922 thousand people, 65 percent of which were covered in green, elevated the intensity of the game.
Hansbrough however, and his crew of explosive teammates had something else in mind though. After being embarrassed last season in the Final Four against Kansas losing at one point 40-12, the Heels were determined to redeem themselves and end their underachieving past.
Right from the tip off, the Spartans were blitzed by the precision and speed of the Tar Heels soon falling behind 21-7. Juniors Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, as well as the senior who wore a Carolina jersey more than any other player Danny Green, gave Tom Izzo's ball club hell.
The Spartans were never really capable of recovering, falling behind 55-34 at halftime as Carolina set two records alone in the first half, most points scored in a half and the largest halftime deficit.
The shell shocked Spartans chance at destiny was dashed, and dashed early. The Heels forced them into 21 turnovers (eight of which belonged to Lawson) and shoot only 40 percent from the field.
As the walk-ons were put into the game with a little over a minute left, it was all but over. The blitzed Spartans just couldn't handle Carolina's determination, falling 89-72 and just short of what would have truly been, destiny.
Ellington was voted MOP, scoring 19 points, but it was Lawson who was truly the most valuable player. Lawson attempted 18 free-throws and converted 15 of them, finishing with 21 points, seven assists, and an championship game record eight steals.
But in the end, it was the most highly decorated player in Carolina history who wore the net around his neck, celebrating what is probably the best moment of his entire life.
Hansbrough finished with 18 points and seven boards, and finally delivered Carolina a championship, the one thing that had eluded him his entire career.
The man who has shot more free-throws than anyone in NCAA history, scored the most points in ACC history, and won both the Naismith and Wooden awards his junior year.
His jersey will forever be in the rafters, and his career forever validated with that national championship. Hansbrough will forever be immortalized as the most successful Tar Heel ever.
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