Thursday, February 9, 2012

ACC Wednesday Night Basketball

THE GAME WINNER (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
#9 DUKE 85, #5 NORTH CAROLINA 84 - For the first 15 minutes of the game, it looked like #5 North Carolina couldn’t win, and for almost all of the second half it seemed like they couldn’t lose...

But, evidently, nobody told #9 Duke that...

Add another chapter to the storied Tobacco Road rivalry as last night the Tar Heels led every minute of the second half against arch rival Duke until freshman Austin Rivers three-pointer went through the net after time had expired to give the Blue Devils an improbable 85-84 win.

North Carolina’s weakness -- perimeter defense and lack of a killer instinct -- allowed Duke to take the lead for most of the first half behind seven three pointers.  Carolina dominated the second half and held a double digit lead most of that period until Duke started their final run which included three more made shots from behind the arc.

Adding to the lore of the rivalry, Duke's Seth Curry made a critical three after he took three or four (depending on who was counting, and the entire ESPN broadcast crew agreed it was at least three) steps and UNC's Tyler Zeller made a basket for Duke with under 15 seconds to play.  Combined with a series of bonehead plays by Carolina, Duke made the big plays when in mattered to snatch the unlikely win.

Duke outscored UNC 42 to 3 from behind the arc.  Carolina was 1 for 6 on three point tries.  Oddly enough, with 2:38 to play, the Tar Heels enjoyed a 10 point lead in spite of the fact that the Blue Devils had outscored them from behind the arc by 33 to 3.

The Blue Devils outscored Carolina 13-2 in the aforementioned decisive final 2:38 after the Tar Heels led 82-72.  According to the Raleigh News & Observer, after Harrison Barnes gave UNC that lead, writers on press row went back to the media room to start filing their stories as the Tar Heels seemed content to hang on and escape with the win.

But Duke had a different ending in mind...

Rivers led Duke with 29 points going 6 of 10 from behind the arc.  Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry each added 15 points while Mason Plumlee pulled down 14 rebounds. 

Tyler Zeller had 19 points in the first half and 23 for the game while Harrison Barnes put up 19 in the second half, scoring 25 for the game.  After tipping in the basket to bring Duke to within one point, Zeller then missed a free throw that allowed Rivers to win the game with a three-pointer over the seven-footer.  A tough ending for Zeller who had a double/double (23 points, 12 rebounds) and two blocks.

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
As expected, the Tar Heels dominated the game inside out rebounding the Blue Devils 41to 31.

Although Carolina coach Roy Williams seemed to be imploring his team to keep up the fast tempo late in the game, they slowed the pace down to the preferred half-court game that plays to Duke’s strengths.

The book on these two teams remains the same. North Carolina has to improve on it’s perimeter defense and close out games late in the second half while Duke is tough to beat when they make three-pointers and free throws.  

Both teams need to shoot better from the charity stripe -- North Carolina (70%) missed nine (including some key ones down the stretch) while the Blue Devils (65%) missed nine as well. 

HARRIS (Andrew Shurtleff/AP Photo)
VIRGINIA 68, WAKE FOREST 44 - Mike Scott made all nine of his shots and scored 19 points to lead the Wahoos over the Demon Deacons.

Joe Harris added 11 points and three other players were in double figures for the Cavaliers (19-4, 6-3 ACC), who ended a six-game losing skid at the hands of the Demon Deacons.

Travis McKie scored 16 points for Wake Forest (11-13, 2-8), which has dropped five in a row and nine of its past 11. C.J. Harris scored 10.

Leading by 21 at the break after scoring the final 12 points of the half, the Cavaliers put it away by hitting their first six shots of the second period and took a 52-21 lead.

The Cavaliers dominated the opening half, shooting 70.8 percent (17 of 24) from the field and taking a 40-19 lead into the break.

Scott nailed all seven of his attempts from the floor and contributed 15 points in the first 20 minutes.

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