Duke 69 – UNC 53 in a Rivalry Romp

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Wow!  I’m not sure if I expected such a dominant performance out of Duke.  Winning in the Dean Dome 69-53 against a surging Carolina team is nothing to sneeze at.  Don’t let the manner in which Duke dismantled this team in any way make you think that UNC isn’t a top 20 team.  Duke beat a very good team and did so in a convincing manner.  Duke would lead this game wire to wire starting on a 14-to-nothing run and UNC would never get it closer than 9 in the first half and by halftime, the outcome was never in doubt.

Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/Getty Images

Seth Curry was ridiculous in the first half, going 8 out of 10 from the field and scoring 18 of this 20 points in that first stanza.  Curry frustrated the Carolina defense prompting Roy Williams to exclaim in the post-game press conference, “He just toyed with us”.  Curry picked his spots and was able to score against bigger defenders with ease giving up lbs and inches to Reggie Bullock.

Duke would go into the half with a 42-24 lead and UNC, sans a run or two in the second half, would never truly threaten.

Where Curry paced Duke in the first half, Mason Plumlee would come alive in the second.  After scoring 8 in the first half, Mason would control the paint in the second, taking the ball to the hoop and exploiting his size advantage against James Michael McAdoo.  Mason scored 15 of his game-high 23 in half two, going 10-of-15 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.  Mason also pulled down 13 rebounds, no one else in the game rebounded in double figures.

Duke did not get a huge game from Ryan Kelly, as he was hampered with foul trouble due to a couple of wild drives to the basket.  Kelly seemed too eager to get to the paint, which was clearly a designed attempt to exploit further the size advantage of the Duke forwards, but time and time again UNC defenders would step in for the charge.  Kelly did, however, make 2 of his 4 attempts from the field and went 4 out of 4 from the free throw line.  Clearly there are still some conditioning issues at play with Ryan Kelly right now, but Duke would get a boost from Quinn Cook on offense.  Cook found that balance that I mentioned in my pre-game post of being a scorer and a distributor.  Cook would score 12 points and assist on 5 baskets.  Cook was masterful when the shot clock ran down, choosing to get into the lane or find his outside shot instead of leaving teammates in bad positions with little time to create.  If Cook can continue to be a dual threat as he was in this game, other teams will need to start paying much more attention to him in scouting.  Duke did not get the game it wanted from freshman Rasheed Sulaimon, who has seemed out of sorts as of late and Duke chose to start defensive specialist Tyler Thornton to hamper the offense of Reggie Bullock.  Bullock was held scoreless in the first half and finished the game with 8 points and 0-for-4 on 3 pointers.  Sulaimon was a non-factor in the game, scoring 1 point off of a free throw in 15 minutes of action.  One has to wonder if the freshman has hit the proverbial wall with the physical and demanding nature of the college game as opposed to the high school game.  I expect Sulaimon to overcome and have a huge ACC Tournament.

It was well publicized that UNC had gone “small ball” and the result of that was 6 straight wins for the Tar Heels. Duke would use its size and to go over top of the Carolina defenders.

Duke’s defense would do what it has done all year: keeping teams off of the 3 point line.  UNC would go 1-of-14 from beyond the arc and Duke contested nearly every one.  Duke would do a good job of keeping UNC out of the paint as well.  McAdoo, the lone low post presence for the Tar Heels, scored 15, but most of those were from mid-range jump shots as Duke would own the paint.

What this win means for Duke

It’s always sweet to take 2 from your rivals down the road, but more importantly for Duke is finishing the regular season strong.  Going into the ACC tournament on a roll is always a good thing.  Duke is still in adjustment mode and has navigated those waters flawlessly so far.  In my opinion, some teams get to this point in the year and can get mentally lazy or at very least so routine-oriented that it’s very easy to go through the motions.  I think Kelly coming back when he did may have given the Devils the jolt that they needed.  To have to make adjustments, but have the time needed to work through the issues that making those adjustments create, is something that Duke has not been afforded before with injuries.  It will be interesting if the points on Duke’s graph continue to trend upward.  In the meantime, go back to hell Carolina, and take your broom with you #sweep.

Official Basketball Box Score
Duke vs North Carolina
03/09/13 9:00 PM at Smith Center, Chapel Hill

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VISITORS: Duke 27-4, 14-4 ACC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 Mason Plumlee....... f 10-15   0-0    3-4    5  8 13   2  23  0  3  0  1  37
34 Ryan Kelly.......... f  2-4    0-0    4-4    1  2  3   3   8  3  3  1  0  28
02 Quinn Cook.......... g  5-12   2-5    0-0    0  5  5   1  12  5  2  0  1  40
03 Tyler Thornton...... g  1-2    1-2    0-0    1  0  1   3   3  0  1  0  2  28
30 Seth Curry.......... g  8-13   2-6    2-2    1  2  3   1  20  2  2  0  1  37
14 Rasheed Sulaimon....    0-2    0-2    1-2    0  3  3   0   1  2  1  0  0  15
15 Josh Hairston.......    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   4   2  0  2  0  0  12
21 Amile Jefferson.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
   TEAM................                            1  1             1
   Totals..............   27-49   5-15  10-12   9 23 32  14  69 12 15  1  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-26 69.2%   2nd Half:  9-23 39.1%   Game: 55.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-9  55.6%   2nd Half:  0-6   0.0%   Game: 33.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  1-2  50.0%   2nd Half:  9-10 90.0%   Game: 83.3%    2

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HOME TEAM: North Carolina 22-9, 12-6 ACC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
22 Frank Tanner........ f  0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
35 Reggie Bullock...... f  4-9    0-4    0-0    2  4  6   1   8  2  2  0  1  32
43 James Michael McAdoo f  6-14   0-0    3-4    1  2  3   1  15  0  0  0  2  34
01 Dexter Strickland... g  2-8    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   4  2  2  0  0  31
15 P.J. Hairston....... g  4-12   1-6    5-5    5  1  6   2  14  0  1  0  3  29
00 Joel James..........    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   2   2  0  0  0  0   4
02 Leslie McDonald.....    2-8    0-3    0-0    3  0  3   1   4  0  0  0  0  14
04 Luke Davis..........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
05 Marcus Paige........    1-6    0-1    2-2    0  1  1   1   4  6  5  2  0  32
11 Brice Johnson.......    0-2    0-0    0-2    2  0  2   2   0  0  1  0  0   8
14 Desmond Hubert......    1-2    0-0    0-0    2  1  3   0   2  0  0  0  0   3
21 Jackson Simmons.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
25 J.P. Tokoto.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  0  0  0  0   7
   TEAM................                         2  2  4
   Totals..............   21-62   1-14  10-13  18 13 31  13  53 10 11  2  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-33 27.3%   2nd Half: 12-29 41.4%   Game: 33.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-8   0.0%   2nd Half:  1-6  16.7%   Game:  7.1%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-7  85.7%   2nd Half:  4-6  66.7%   Game: 76.9%    3

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Officials: Roger Ayers, Les Jones, Tim Nestor
Technical fouls: Duke-None. North Carolina-None.
Attendance: 21750
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Duke..........................   42   27  -   69
North Carolina................   24   29  -   53

Points in the paint-DU 34,NC 24. Points off turnovers-DU 15,NC 11.
2nd chance points-DU 7,NC 12. Fast break points-DU 0,NC 0.
Bench points-DU 3,NC 12. Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-DU 2nd-01:42, NC 2nd-01:26.
Largest lead-DU by 25 2nd-09:47, NC None.

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