- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2009

From combined dispatches

No. 2 N. CAROLINA 86, VIRGINIA TECH 78: Tyler Hansbrough had 22 points and 15 rebounds, and the Tar Heels (26-3, 12-3 ACC) stayed on track to win the ACC regular-season title with a victory over the fading Hokies (17-12, 7-8) on Wednesday night in Blacksburg, Va.

North Carolina, which leads Duke by one game heading into their regular-season finale Sunday in Chapel Hill, led almost throughout and took command with a 10-0 run that started with 5:03 to play - after the Hokies closed to within one.

Virginia Tech lost for the fifth time in six games and again saw its hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament dashed. The Hokies have lost seven of their last 10 games and finish the regular season at Florida State on Sunday.

A.D. Vassallo led Virginia Tech with 25 points, while Malcolm Delaney had 19 and Jeff Allen added 18 points and 12 rebounds.

The Hokies got within 63-62 on Vassallo’s floater in the lane with 5:16 left, but Hansbrough hit two free throws and an eight-foot jumper, Lawson made two free throws and a layup and Danny Green finished the 10-0 burst with two free throws to make it 73-62.

Ty Lawson added 22 points for the Tar Heels, and Wayne Ellington had 15.

Trailing 42-36 at halftime, the Hokies gradually closed the gap, finally pulling even for the first time since the opening minutes on Vassallo’s runner that made it 50-50.

But Green answered with his first field goal, a 3-pointer from the left corner.

When Vassallo hit consecutive 3s later in the half, the latter tying it at 56-56 with 9:24 left, Green followed two free throws by Hansbrough and a Hokies’ turnover with another 3-pointer, this one from the left wing, to give the Tar Heels a 61-56 lead with 8:35 left.

The Hokies got it back within one, but the Tar Heels then pulled away for good.

The Tar Heels opened the game with a 17-8 run and led throughout the first half. Virginia Tech closed to 39-36 on Allen’s dunk 43 seconds before halftime, but Hansbrough hit a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left in the half for the 42-36 lead.

Hokies seniors Vassallo and Cheick Diakite were honored before the game, their last appearances at Cassell Coliseum unless Virginia Tech winds up with a home game in the NIT.

MASSACHUSETTS 77, G. WASHINGTON 62: Ricky Harris had 19 points and Tony Gaffney added 11 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots as the Minutemen (11-17, 6-9 Atlantic 10) edged the Colonials (10-17, 4-11) in Amherst, Mass.

The win clinched Massachusetts a berth in next week’s conference tournament in Atlantic City. UMass is guaranteed the No. 11 seed in the field and will play a first-round game against the No. 6 seed.

George Washington needs to beat Temple on Saturday and for Charlotte to beat St. Bonaventure to get in.

The Colonials led 36-33 at halftime and after an early second half surge by the Minutemen took the lead again 50-48 on a dunk by Rob Diggs, who led George Washington with 22 points and nine rebounds.

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