On PTI on Friday, Duke coach Mike Krzydfgvb5ski said it was Duke’s job to stop North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough. He must have told his guys not to foul the Sports Illustrated Player of the Year, and they listened.
Remarkably, the Devils (according to referees Karl Hess, Ted Valentine and Roger Ayers) never laid a hand on the Tar Heel junior (photographic evidence to the contrary). Subsequently, Hansbrough did not attempt a free throw for the only time this year, and just the second time in his career (against George Mason in 2005-06 NCAA second round loss). No free throw attempts. Zero, zip, nada, zilch...None.
Hansbrough holds the career record for free throw attempts at UNC by an ever-widening (except last night) margin. He’s been to the charity stripe 321 times this year…but not once last night.
While Hansbrough did make good use of his developing mid-range jump shot, he did spend the majority of his working time (a game high 37 minutes) doing what he does best -- getting shots in the paint and drawing fouls while he’s at it.
Not last night. Hansbrough took 21 shots -- the majority were taken in traffic -- and no Duke Blue Devil committed a single foul on any one of those 21 shots.
We surmise the refs decided to “let the boys play.” And play they did.
Ole Roy just said post game that he “wasn’t happy” with every call. When asked specifically about Hansbrough not going to the free throw line, he said he was “shocked."
(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images, and Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)