Wayne Ellington had 25 points for North Carolina, which led the entire way and had no trouble beating 16th seed Radford, 101-58, in Greensboro, N.C., even without point guard Ty Lawson, who missed his third straight game with a toe injury.
It was a game in which senior Tyler Hansbrough set the Atlantic Coast Conference career scoring mark of 2,767 points in the opening minutes and finished with 22 points.
Playing about an hour's drive from its Chapel Hill campus, No. 1 seed North Carolina (29-4) enjoyed a huge home-crowd advantage and built a 19-point halftime lead over Radford (21-12), the Big South Conference champion making just its second NCAA appearance.
Amir Johnson and Joey Lynch-Flohr each scored 12 points to lead the Highlanders, whose last tournament appearance came in 1998.
"We played the first half really, really well," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
"The pace of the game and the number of big guys that we could run in there perhaps tired them out a little bit. That's what we try to do all the time, try to make the pace and stamina a question mark."
Lawson has been slow to recover from a jammed right big toe suffered in practice two days before the regular-season finale against Duke. Lawson played 36 minutes in that game, but the toe swelled unexpectedly the day after and forced him to miss both of the Tar Heels' ACC tournament games.He said he is feeling better and battling more stiffness than pain, adding he thinks he'll play tomorrow.
Michigan 62, Clemson 59: : The Wolverines stymied the Tigers with their 1-3-1 defense and survived a late scare in their first NCAA tournament game in 11 years, beating Clemson in the first round in Kansas City, Mo. Manny Harris scored 21 points, and Stu Douglass added 12 for 10th seed Michigan (21-13), which will face Oklahoma tomorrow. Trevor Booker led the seventh-seeded Tigers with 18 points. As the minutes ticked away, consecutive three-pointers by Andre Young and an additional one by Rivers sparked the Tigers on a 14-0 run, making it 58-57 with just more than a minute left. But victory eluded them, and losing Terrence Oglesby early in the second half didn't help. Oglesby, a 39 percent three-point shooter during the regular season, was 1-for-7 in the first half, then clanged his first shot of the second off the side of the rim. His frustration boiled over a few minutes later, when he was called for an intentional foul for throwing an elbow at Douglass. Douglass hit the two free throws, then the officials ejected Oglesby after reviewing the play.
LSU 75, Butler 71: : Marcus Thornton, the Southeastern Conference's Player of the Year, scored 30 points while coming through with one critical basket after another for the hot-shooting Tigers, who held off a late rally to beat the Bulldogs in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. They move on to face top-seeded North Carolina tomorrow. Butler's Matt Howard scored 22 points before fouling out with 35.7 seconds left, and Shelvin Mack added 18 points for the No. 9 seed. Considered one of the nation's most dangerous mid-majors, Butler had knocked off Maryland, Wake Forest, Louisville and Mississippi State in past tournaments.
Gonzaga 77, Akron 64: : Josh Heytvelt scored 22 points - seven during a decisive, late run - and the Bulldogs rallied to get past the determined but ultimately overwhelmed Zips at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. Micah Downs added 15 points for fourth seed Gonzaga (27-5), which won for the 19th time in 20 games. Thirteenth seed Akron (23-13) was up six at halftime. Nate Linhart scored 13 points in the first half but had no field goals after halftime for the Zips, who won the Mid-American Conference tournament to get into their first NCAA tournament in 23 years. "Oh, it was a weight off the chest," Heytvelt said moments after Gonzaga won for the 19th time in 20 games. "They came out throwing blows and had us rattled."
Said Bulldogs guard Jeremy Pargo: "We persevered." Gonzaga faces the winner of Western Kentucky tomorrow.
Western Kentucky 76, Illinois 72: : Trent Meacham scored 24 points to lead the 12th-seeded Hilltoppers (25-8), who advance to play Gonzaga after defeating the Illini (24-10) in Portland, Ore.