Don’t look now, but Duke is good again.
After a sub-par year, the Blue Devils are running and shooting like...well...Duke.
In spite of obvious shortcomings, primarily size, they have dismantled all their recent opponents including the one’s they trailed at halftime. It was all an injury-depleted UNC could do to stay close while posting some frightening offensive stats themselves.
Was anybody surprised that UNC was not the same team without Ty Lawson? Probably not. The explosive point guard (13.2 points, 2 turnovers, 6 assists) that drives Roy Williams’ Ferrariesque offense was clearly missed.
To make matter worse for the Heels, Duke scored 39 points from behind the arc with six players scoring in double figures while the Lawson-less Heels (21-2, 6-2 ACC) struggled to score from half-court sets.
Greg Paulus scored 18 points (all 3’s) and Jon "Crazy Face" Scheyer added 17 points for Duke (20-1, 8-0) which ran its spread-the-floor offense almost to perfection, repeatedly knocking down threes. Evidently, it’s easy to say you have to guard the Duke shooters all over the court, but it’s hard to actually do it. The Blue Devils connected on 13 of 29 (44.8%) from three-point land.
We hate to agree with Billy Packer, but when Greg Paulus drives the lane you have to know he’s gonna flop or dish it off. Since he’s been called out recently on the flop, the Carolina defenders should not have collapsed to the ball as much as they did. Mind you, that’s the normal thing to do, but Duke’s three-point shooting percentage wasn’t normal. Paulus made them pay.
While Quinton Thomas did a serviceable job at point, the Heels typical high-octane transition game wasn’t a factor, and their half court offense never got going as Wayne Ellington (16.2 points per game) and Danny Green (12.1 point per game) scored a total of 11 points on 4 of 24 shooting. Ellington wore the rim out, but the shots just wouldn’t fall. Also injured Marcus Ginyard added 16 much-needed points to the Heels' tally.
Can’t fault Thomas’ effort. Although he was inconsistent at times (6 turnovers, 7 assists), he is, in reality, the third string point guard behind Lawson and also-injured Bobby Frasor. With that in mind, he did all he could do…He even scored 10 points. Thomas didn’t make Ellington and Green go ice cold all game.
Carolina also suffered from 20 turnovers, and an uncharacteristically bad night from the charity stripe where they made just 19 of 30 free throws for 63%. Oddly, Duke was worse, making just 16 of 27 from the line (59.3%). Hansbrough (28 points, 18 rebounds), who is normally an 82% free throw shooter missed five freebies while carrying a heavy load. Fatigue was probably a factor there.
Bottom line: Every time Carolina fought their way back into the game they either couldn’t stop Duke, or couldn’t convert key baskets on their end of the floor.
Once it became a fouling contest late, fates were sealed. You're not gonna catch-up to the Blue Devils in a foul shooting contest...
Score this one for Coach K and the boys. Near the end of the game, Krzydkghvbbn5ski told his players "no celebrating, just walk off the court."
Some would call that a class move, while others would say it's classic gamesmanship of the "you are not our rival" type. You decide.
Nobody got in a fight. Nobody bled.
Duke’s win ended a three game losing streak to their arch rival.
Gerald Henderson (15) ACTUALLY GOES FOR THE BALL as he tries to block North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough (50) during the second half . (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)
Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils battles for a rebound with Tyler Hansbrough. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Quentin Thomas #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels looses the ball as he drives against Greg Paulus. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jon”Crazy Face” Scheyer doesn’t make a “crazy face” while passing the ball over Wayne Ellington. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)