Sunday, March 9, 2008

#1 NORTH CAROLINA 76, #5 DUKE 68

Danny Green had 18 points to make up for a shaky outing last time against the Blue Devils, and #1 North Carolina scored the final 10 points of its 76-68 victory over #5 Duke Saturday night to claim the ACC regular-season championship.

Tyler Hansbrough finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds while surpassing the 2,000-point mark for his career in his third straight victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Wayne Ellington added 16 points for the Tar Heels (29-2, 14-2).

North Carolina blew an early double-figure lead and briefly trailed before closing strong, holding the Blue Devils scoreless for the final 5 1/2 minutes to earn its eighth straight victory and the top seed in the ACC tournament in Charlotte. The win could also be a big step toward the No. 1 seed in the Charlotte-based East Regional.

"Our perimeter guys took it personally tonight," said Green, who was 1-for-10 in the last Duke game. "We wanted to come out and knock down shots, play smarter, play better and take the crowd out of the game. We kept our poise when they came back."

Greg Paulus scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half for the Blue Devils (26-4, 13-3), who rallied from a 14-point first-half hole but missed their final 11 shots.

Duke had 15 shots blocked -- seven by Green and five by Deon Thompson -- and was held to a season-worst 32.9 shooting in having its four-game winning streak ended and losing at home for the first time since last February's Maryland game.

"We've been drilling [defense] since the first day," coach Roy Williams said. "It's a challenge to try to be a really good defensive team. Sometimes, you get lucky and they miss shots as well. The statistics show that we've gotten better defensively. It's something that you have to be good at if you want to reach those big-time dreams that we have."

Jon Scheyer added 14 points, and his stickback with just over 5 1/2 minutes remaining gave Duke its only lead of the second half at 68-66 -- but that was the Blue Devils' last field goal of the game. Duke had good looks on three straight trips downcourt after that but came up empty on each, and that allowed North Carolina to take control down the stretch.

Ellington drove the left side for a layup to tie it at 68 with 3 minutes left and start North Carolina's game-closing 10-0 run, and on the next possession Hansbrough stuck back Green's miss to put the Tar Heels ahead to stay. They went on to finish 13-0 in road games and 8-0 in ACC games away from the Smith Center -- both school records.

TOP: Danny Green #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels blocks a dunk by DeMarcus Nelson #21 of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CENTER: Duke's Lance Thomas (42) and Kyle Singler (12) try to block North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough during the second half. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RIGHT: Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils defends as teammate Lance Thomas #42 fouls Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

1 comment:

  1. hansborough doesnt get as much credit as he deserves. he is like blake griffin every1 tries to cheap shot him and cheat, excpet griffin's got more talent obviously

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