Mike Ehrlich


Along with John Henson, Tyler Zeller is gaining  valuable tournament experience that could help next year. DTH File/BJ Dworak

Henson and Zeller gain experience

North Carolina coach Roy Williams has said repeatedly that the NIT is important to give seniors Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson a proper send-off.But in another way, this postseason is even more important for its role in the coming-of-age process of two key future assets.

Freshman John Henson said UNC’s success in the NIT has been a welcome break from the struggles the team has faced.DTH/Phong Dinh

NIT loosens up Tar Heels

As North Carolina ran out of the locker room to begin a tournament that no Tar Heel aspired to reach, Marcus Ginyard laughed.They were in a gym that hadn’t been used for men’s basketball in 24 years, coming off two straight losses and one loss from the second-most in program history.

Thompson ?nds success in NIT win

When Deon Thompson made a mental error on the first play of the second half, the senior knew exactly where to go. He ran straight up to UNC coach Roy Williams and pleaded, “Don’t kill me.”Williams only said he’d think about it at the time, but after Thompson led UNC to an 80-72 win in the opening game of the NIT, he had nothing but compliments for his big man.

Duke's Brian Zoubek (55) and Kyle Singler (12) double-team North Carolina's Tyler Zeller (44) during NCAA men's basketball action at Cameron Indoor Stadium, in Durham, North Carolina, on Saturday, March 6, 2010. Duke topped North Carolina, 82-50. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT0

Duke blows out UNC in season finale

DURHAM – In Duke vs. North Carolina, there is seldom a sure thing. But Saturday’s regular season finale was never in doubt.Duke built a 20-point lead in just 11 minutes and a 30-point lead in 26. After four straight losses to UNC in their own building, the No. 4 Blue Devils took back Cameron Indoor Stadium. Emphatically.

Warren leads late overtime push

WINSTON-SALEM — Cierra Robertson-Warren was the first one down the court.The UNC freshman stood on the free-throw line with her hands on her knees and waited for the other nine players to take their places. And then she iced the game.Her defensive rebound and ensuing free throw gave the Tar Heels a four-point lead with nine seconds to go in overtime.

North Carolina knocks off N.C. State again

In front of what seemed like the entire history of the North Carolina basketball program, this year's Tar Heels did their part to complete a memorable weekend.UNC took care of visiting N.C. State by a 74-61 score to avoid falling to last place in the ACC. The Tar Heels (14-11, 3-7 ACC) snapped a four-game losing streak and completed the season sweep of their in-state foes.

Senior struggles gnawing at Ginyard

Marcus Ginyard sat hunched forward, waiting for a trainer to wrap his sore ankle. His eyes were cast downward, and his chin rested in his hands.Members of the media had already questioned the fifth-year senior about his team’s sixth loss in eight games, as well as his removal from the starting lineup.

Guard Dexter Strickland started his fourth game of the season against the Hokies. DTH/Margaret Cheatham Williams

UNC again beaten on the perimeter

BLACKSBURG, Va. — With the clock winding down and North Carolina desperately needing a stop, Virginia Tech put the ball in the hands of its best guard and the ACC’s leading scorer, Malcolm Delaney.And once again, the Tar Heels failed to stop an opposing guard. Delaney’s two free throws in the final minute iced the VT win.

UNC leads VT 35-33 at half

With a strong close to the first half, North Carolina leads Virginia Tech, 35-33 at the half.Point guard Larry Drew II sparked the Tar Heels' comeback, repeatedly slicing into the lane and dishing to teammates. Drew scored the go-ahead bucket in the closing seconds of the half. He has four points and five assists.

UNC to go after 2,000th win on Senior Night

Nothing like having something to play for.North Carolina will try to become the second basketball program ever to win 2,000 games tonight in the Smith Center against Miami.Tonight is also Senior Night for Marcus Ginyard, Deon Thompson, Marc Campbell, James Gallagher, Terrence Petree and Thomas Thornton.

Davis could miss NC State game

Roy Williams said in a news conference Monday that unless the injured ankle of forward Ed Davis makes "significant improvement," Davis will sit out Tuesday night's game at N.C. State. Davis also missed Wednesday's loss against Wake Forest, the third straight defeat for North Carolina.