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Two possessions later, Trapani made an uncontested layup after a turnover by Will Graves that made it 74-60 with 9:22 left -- capping a run of five straight scoring possessions.
The Tar Heels, meanwhile, just looked lost. Hansbrough struggled to consistently find space against Josh Southern and frequent double-teams. Frontcourtmate Deon Thompson, who came in averaging 14 points per game, was a no-show and sat on the bench while Graves earned his minutes late. And no one seemed able to make a big shot when the Tar Heels desperately needed one, most notably when they missed three open 3s on one possession in the final 3 minutes.
North Carolina hung in the game with a frantic defensive effort in the final minutes and whittled the lead to 82-78 on a free throw from Hansbrough with 46.2 seconds left, but got no closer. Rice went 3-for-4 at the line in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
Rice finished 7-for-13 from the field and had eight assists with five rebounds to outperform counterpart Ty Lawson, who had 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting.
Ellington had 16 points, while Thompson had five points on 2-for-6 shooting for the Tar Heels.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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