Carolina Crushes Duke in Cameron 88-70, Wins ACC

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It was less about stats in this whupping put on Duke by Carolina but about fight and smarts. Duke can blame a tough Carolina team who played with passion heart and fight. It was evident from the start of this game Duke had nothing for Carolina. Duke tried to rely more on outside shooting rather than taking the fight directly to Carolina. Duke did not have the hot shooting hand and instead of driving the ball to the basket, Duke settled for tough two point shots.  When Duke did get the hole layups were missed, several by Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and an open layup on the break by Tyler Thornton.

Aside from Miles Plumlee, no one on Dukes roster played like they were playing for a championship. No one boxed out, no one shot smart shots, no one finished plays, and no one played winning basketball. UNC did.

In a game where Duke seriously needed rebounds they were out-rebounded by 17. And as Duke fans know if Duke gets out-rebouned it better hit threes and they did not. The 88-70 score reflected that. Duke played tentatively on offense seemingly afraid of the shot-block, well they successfully avoided getting blocked, UNC only had 1.

Clearly not the game Coach K was hoping for, Duke competed in spurts, played defense in even sparser segments. Carolina had its pick on offense with all starters scoring in double figures. Dukes method on defense was apparently to stand under the basket and allow Carolina to either drive  right by or attempt to take questionable charges. While I do understand Due

Duke was paced by Mason Plumlee who scored 17 but wasn’t much of a factor anywhere else on the court. Miles Plumlee in his final game at Cameron scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds before fouling out. The here of game 1 Austin Rivers scored a respectable 15 but was mostly held in check by the Carolina defense. Carolina learned from its mistakes and kept Duke off of the 3 point line, Duke did not learn its lessons and allowed Carolina to shoot well over 50% from the field. Duke made several runs in the game getting the lead down to 11 but a missed open look from 3 by Seth Curry was the death knell and quelled any comeback hopes.

UNC looked like a team ready for March while Duke appeared to be a team stuck in December, going into one-and-done situations, this game does not bode well for Duke.

POSITIVES?

Positives stemming from this game could be the play of the Plumlees in the second half, despite being in foul trouble, something seemed to click for Miles and Mason. If Duke can harvest that and foster it going forward it could prolong Dukes post-season life. @thedevilwolf tweeted “The Plumlees were a combined 14-21, 33 points, 15 rebounds. That’s outstanding production. How does Duke keep that going in the NCAAs?”

No more home games, Duke has played much better on the road so going into the tournaments, Duke will not be in Cameron. It’s odd to list this as a positive but this team isn’t a normal Duke team.

NEGATIVES?

Losing by 18 in your own gym, unacceptable.

Duke has had a full season to learn to play defense and still hasn’t cracked the code.

Live by the three, die by the three.

12-21 for 57% from the free throw line.

Despite having 3 guy 6’10 or above, this team underachieves on the boards.

Duke could not have impressed the recruits visiting, including Shabazz Muhammed and Amile Jefferson and signee Rasheed Suilamon.

More later on a deflating loss and what has to happen going forward…

 

BOX SCORE

QUOTES:

Quotes: UNC 88, Duke 70

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“Well, they were terrific.  We were overwhelmed in the first half. They just played beautiful basketball. They were so efficient. They are a great team. They are not a good team. They are a great team. They played well. They played like it most of the season. I think what happens to us, we had some good looks in the first half, not that it would have cut down a 24-point lead by them. Our motto still is when we don’t shoot well, we become a better defensive team. Their talent and our demeanor is a bad mix after we miss. You got to be a lot tougher because they are so good. [Kendall] Marshall is sensational. What a performance by that kid. He just had a magical year for him. He stirs the drink real well. In the second half, I thought we played a lot better. [We had] a couple of times to put ourselves into position to get a down into single digits. [We] missed free throws, not that it we would win, but it would have made it a little bit more interesting. So again, it is the end of the regular season. I am proud of our guys. [We are] 13-3 and 26-5. The better team won. My hats off to them for winning the regular season [and to] their class group. Now everyone is zero and zero again. We got to regroup and learn from the 31 games, and try to get refresh this week to go down to Atlanta and win some more before the NCAA tournament.”

On Zeller’s performance:
“Zeller has had a Player of the Year performance. I think First Team All-American type of year. The kid is a great player and great kid. He never seems to get tired. He has an amazing physical presence. He puts so much pressure on you the way he runs the floor, and inside, he is just a high percentage shooter. He is a great college player, and I think he would be a really good pro too. But I am not a pro coach, so we can all decide on that, but I tell you, he is  a great college player. He has had a Player of the Year performance. His team has won the league, and he has shown up every night on a real high level.”

On UNC playing screens to take away the three-point shot:
“Well I thought they played really good defense. I did think we had good looks though. But again, when you base your offense like we do on three-point shooting, you know some say don’t, but that is who we are man. That is who we are, and if we are not hitting them, then, we have a much greater chance to lose. Their defense on the ball screen I think was very good.  They played us until the end. They were terrific.”

On the lesson they can learn from this game:
“Well first of all, we won’t play them all the time. I think that is the very first thing. They can beat anybody. They were predicted to do that, and they can do that. We feel fortunate that we split with them. That was an accomplishment. If we got an opportunity to play them again, that means that we would play for a championship, so that means we would two games down there. That would be great preparation. There are going to be a lot of hungry teams in Atlanta for NCAA bids. This will be a hell of a tournament I think down there. A lot of hungry teams in our league are trying to make it.”

On what UNC did differently tonight:
“Well I thought they played really well against us in Chapel Hill. We hit more. We never got down. I thought they got us down, and we got us down. We got to be tougher than that. You just have to hang in there. They were scoring on every possession. Initially, we got a couple, but then we missed.  Then it looked like we put a lot of pressure on ourselves on our shot. I thought we were trying to be beat them and us. In the first half, it turned out to be 48 to 24. We only had a couple of guys who had rebounds in the first half. Second half was even.  They killed us on the boards in the first half. They just killed us on the boards.”

On Kendall Marshall getting a lot of heat on being a passer:
“I have never seen him get heat. That kid has been celebrated and should be. He has never gotten any heat from us. I just think he is a terrific player, poised, confident, understands the levers of power on his team and when to use them. He is the ultimate point guard. He was great tonight, but that is not the only time he has been great this season.”

Duke Senior Miles Plumlee
“We got some good shots, but also I think we settled individually a little too much.  I think we can get better shots as a team when we move the ball and when we hit inside, relocate, and kick on our drives.  They did a great job of playing us for the drive and not letting us get to the hole.  If we had done that, I think it would’ve helped a lot.”

On this being his last game in Cameron:
“I just wanted to leave it all on the floor, play as hard as I can, and it wasn’t until the very end – I still believed we had a chance to come back with this team.  It didn’t happen.  Obviously it hurts a lot.  You never want to go out on a loss.  The only thing I have to say is the season is not over.”

“I thought defensively, we didn’t come out and fight them like we should have.  We let them get easy buckets and let our offense affect our defense.  We didn’t come out to fight until the second half.  You let a team like that get up by 20 points, you have about zero chance of coming back.”

Duke Junior Ryan Kelly
“It’s tough right now.  A loss like that – there’s not a lot of good things that come from it.  It’ll take me a day or two [to put it out of his mind], but it’ll always be there.  It’s not the type of loss you’re going to forget.  But we want the opportunity to play them again, and we think there’s going to be an opportunity to play them again in the ACC Tournament.  We need to be ready for that, and we need to be ready for the beginning of the ACC Tournament.  We need to be better to win a championship.”

Duke Freshman Austin Rivers
“The way we came out at Florida State for revenge, [North Carolina] came out at us.  I think they just wanted it.  We wanted it too.  To tell you the truth, we both came out fine.  We missed shots.  Their offensive rebounding killed us.  [The rebounding margin] was like 32-15 at break.  That’s ridiculous.  And it was not the big men’s fault.  I think it was more on us, just helping them rebound.  That killed us.”

“It wasn’t our offense that hurt us.  It was mainly our defensive rebounding.  We played good defense.  We played their best players well.  Kendall [Marshall] had a great game – that was his best game.  He had a wonderful game.  But overall, we played them well.  We just let them kill us on rebounds.  If you give arguably one of the best teams in the country multiple opportunities on one possession, you can’t win.  That’s why we didn’t win.”

“You can make runs and if you hit shots, things can go your way.  You’ve just got to stick with what you’re good at.  We have guys that are three-point shooters, and then we have other guys that can do both.  Tonight, it wasn’t going for me from the three-point line, so I just tried attacking.  I think I should’ve shot more floaters instead of just trying to go all the way.  I think we should’ve attacked more.  It starts on defense.  If you fight them on defense, then you get in that fighting spirit like we did in the second half.  If we would’ve come out in the first half like we did in the second half, it would’ve been a whole different game.”

“Yes, we do [want to play North Carolina again in the ACC Tournament].  We’ve got to take care of business first because the ACC is full of great teams.  Virginia can beat anybody.  Florida State, Miami, they’ve shown they’re capable of beating anybody.  So we have to handle business first, but if we do end up playing them, it’s going to be a battle.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams
Opening Statements:
“Needless to say we’re ecstatic, a great basketball game.  We also realize we were very fortunate that Duke missed a lot of shots that they make most of the time, but, a great, great night for us.  I always write three things on the board before every game. Tonight the first one was “attack, attack, attack and be under control when we did it.”  I thought that was what got us off to such a good start because we did attack, we were in a bit of a frenzy a couple of times, we took some weird shots and we didn’t make any of those in the first half.  I think that the mode we were in to attack was really helpful to us. I didn’t look at the score from probably the 10-minute mark in the first half down to half, so to look up there and be up 24.  I told our guys in the locker room that Duke’s been down 20 at least once this year and came back and won the game, so we had to try to play a great second half and not forget what we were doing. I don’t think we really forgot what we were doing, I don’t think we got as tentative.  Reggie [Bullock] lost the ball driving down the lane, so he was being aggressive. Harrison [Barnes] tried to go down the lane, he charged, he was trying to be aggressive. Kendall [Marshall] missed two lay ups, so he was being aggressive.  Duke really focused on going inside, and they did a great job of getting the ball to their big guys, the bad news is they made a bunch of them; the good news is they were adding two at a time instead of three. I felt like they could make a run, I never like to tell our guys they’re going to make a run because if you play maybe they don’t.  I did look at the clock a couple times in the second half; I don’t think it ever got under 11. But at that stage you just got to keep attacking, you have no chance of beating Duke if you don’t score.  I know that sounds silly, but you got to be aggressive, all coaches love guys who play defense, but Duke is so good offensively, you got to be willing to score a lot of points.”

On what Carolina did differently defensively when Duke was trying to make runs:
“There’s no question that we had an emphasis the last three or four days to try to have a better balance instead of 42 points from three for them and three for us, that’s a 39 points difference at our place. We still were one possession away from winning the game. I tried to match 3 point shot for 3 point shot. We really emphasized how they scored their threes.  They shot 36 threes and I took every one of them and I analyzed them and said what happened on every one of those 36 plays. We showed the team every one of those 36 plays. Some of them we just stared at the guy shooting the ball, five of them went under the screen, four of them we went under the double-screen, so yea we did try to emphasize that.”

On Kendall Marshall’s performance:
“The good thing is, and I told him this, he can play a heck of a lot better because he made some bonehead plays in there, but 20 points and 10 assists, and I don’t know how the official scorer scored it but the one he shot over the basket that [Tyler Zeller] rebounded was a pass.  He was really big for us to say the least, he made a couple shots, he’s having a heck of a year.  Tonight it was about North Carolina’s team and everyone did some good things.”

On the resilience of this team:
“Well this was more difficult, no question coming over here and doing it.  My team has had to bounce back all year long. We go down to Florida State and lose by 3 million, everyone’s jumping off the bandwagon saying no team is gonna lose like that and be that good of a team and our team kept playing.  We lose to Duke and everyone’s got a great opinion about how stupid we are and how bad we are and my team kept playing. The best thing about my team is they’re pretty tough. I mean that’s some pretty big plays they’ve had to bounce back from and I think they’ve done a nice job.  Right now they’re ACC regular season champions.”

On Tyler Zeller:
“You watch him during warm up, there was not one smile on that young man.  There was not one second where he wasn’t focused.  He went out to jump at the opening tip and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he was 100 percent into that game.  Here’s a guy who is the Academic All-American Player of the Year, and that’s pretty impressive and you look down there and he is 9-of-11 with 19 points 10 rebounds, that means a pretty daggum good basketball player.”