The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday February 28th

M. Basketball: Davis' paint presence leads UNC defense

Ed Davis recorded two blocks in less than a minute ? both on shots from LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell ? in UNC?s Sunday matchup.
Buy Photos Ed Davis recorded two blocks in less than a minute ? both on shots from LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell ? in UNC?s Sunday matchup.

GREENSBORO — With 15:23 left to play Saturday night LSU forward Tasmin Mitchell saw his lane and drove to the hoop.

With 16 points already under his belt and his 8-seed Tigers up one on No. 1 North Carolina Mitchell looked poised to score again and lead his team to an upset.

But then the rim wasn't there anymore.

Instead the only thing that Mitchell could see was the 6-foot 10-inch frame of UNC freshman forward Ed Davis" rising up to erase Mitchell's shot and send the follow-up shot back to behind the 3-point arc.

Talk about making a statement.

""I didn't think Deon (Thompson) was playing as well" and Ed got in there and all of a sudden blocked a couple of shots and was more of a presence on the boards" Roy Williams said.

He is a presence in there defensively.""

Following Davis' emphatic rejection" Mitchell — who at the time led LSU in scoring — managed only two points for the rest of the game" bothered by the length and strength of Davis.

""Ed's a beast" freshman point guard Larry Drew II said. People say he's got a baby face whatever — he may not be the strongest or most imposing guy" but you don't want to bring the ball in.""

Davis disrupted LSU so thoroughly that for the rest of the game"" only eight of LSU's final 26 points were scored in the paint — so it's no surprise that UNC slowly pulled away from the Tigers as Davis neutralized not only the Tigers' post scoring but their second-chance opportunities as well.

""When you put Ed into the game" he brings a lot of energy into the game on the defensive end" Drew said. I would say eight or nine times out of 10 he's going to block your shot it you go up soft with it.""

The freshman big man also got in on the act on the offensive end as his nine points — most on hammering dunks — gave UNC some of the bench production they've been missing all year.

""I'm just starting to understand the game better" Davis said. The college game is so different from the high school game" that adapting to my role and what coach wants me to do has become a little bit easier now.""

Davis certainly had time to get comfortable Saturday night as he spent a total of 25 minutes on the floor and after entering three minutes into the second half"" left the game for only five seconds.

""I just thank Coach for giving me the opportunity" Davis said. We got the victory so that's all that matters. I really don't look on the stat sheet how many minutes I got" I'm just going to play my role when I'm in there.""

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