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The Daily Tar Heel

Ellington's big half powers Tar Heel win

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Wayne Ellington made seven straight 3-pointers Saturday en route to a 23-point game ? and he says his re-found shooting touch is here to stay.

After the third consecutive three-pointer Saturday night a twine-shredding swish from the right corner Wayne Ellington allowed himself a small double hop with some swagger as he ran back on defense.

Following his sixth in a row several minutes later all he could do was smile and shake his head as if he too were in awe of the moment.

After extended shooting struggles" Ellington turned Saturday's matchup with Miami into a jaw-dropping long-range exhibition by nailing eight consecutive second-half field goals and seven straight treys. It was the most 3-pointers by a UNC player since Rashad McCants made eight against Clemson in 2004.

""It was fun to see that youngster have some success — it's been tough on him"" UNC coach Roy Williams said. Nobody has been wanting to make shots more than he has.""

Ellington entered the game shooting .346 from long-range and .432 overall — including 13-for-46 on 3-pointers during his last 11 games.

And Saturday seemed like more of the same" according to his first half statline: 0-for-2 0 points.

But a more assertive No. 22 took the floor in the second half and despite missing his first two shots" he followed his own miss on the second for a layup to get things started.

""I kind of got some emotions involved" Ellington said. I missed some and I kind of got angry and went and got an offensive rebound and a putback" and I think that just got me started.""

Suddenly UNC had the Ellington it's been waiting for" and the next trip down he confidently rattled in a 3-ball from the right wing.

Then it was a swish from the right corner. Then another from the same spot giving the Tar Heels a 50-43 lead on the strength of his 11 consecutive points.

After a rest on the bench" he kept it rolling with his fourth straight 3-pointer on a right-wing pull-up.

""Once I start knocking them down" it feels like all of them are going to go in" he said.

And with the crowd rising in anticipation as he cocked the ball back for another release, he drained three more — the seventh coming on a swish off a left-handed dribble to give UNC a 19-point lead in a game that had once looked competitive.

Ellington (who finished with 23 points) said he thinks he'll be good for the rest of the season.""

And if the lanky guard is able to stretch the defenses like he did last year" UNC has three long-range threats in the lineup (Ellington" Danny Green and Ty Lawson) to help give its big men more room.

""You get guys like that knocking down treys from outside" it really opens everything up in the lane because they have to worry about not guarding Wayne Danny or Ty" Tyler Hansbrough said.

And like Ellington, the other two are capable of heating up in hurry. Green suggested Ellington might have learned from the six 3-pointers he hit against UNC-Asheville earlier in the season.

I'm pretty sure that he remembers"" Green said. He learned. He watched on the sidelines and took some notes. I think I taught him pretty well.""



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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