Duke Gets by Rival UNC – 73-68

Brian Horaceblog, General Information, Results/Thoughts1 Comment

When does a win not make me exuberantly happy?  Well, this one doesn’t quite leave a good taste in my mouth.  Yes, it’s always nice to get a win over a heated rival and arch-nemesis, but it really proved that Duke has a long way to go and has yet to learn to play WELL without Ryan Kelly.  I know mentioning his name is nearly like speaking about a unicorn: In his absence he has seemed to take on magical qualities in the minds of us Duke fans and in the minds of the media at large.  Duke is a very different animal with the White Raven and this current iteration is not quite ready for prime time, and most of it has little to do with Kelly not being there.

The UNC game was hard to watch at first for Duke fans because clearly Duke had a talent advantage over the Heels, but failed miserably to exploit that advantage.  UNC had every reason to come into this game and lay an egg, but at the beginning it was Duke that did so.  Shots not falling is something that you deal with in basketball, but a lack of intensity and focus isn’t really excusable, especially on your home floor in a rivalry game, and where you know that you need every win possible to come anywhere near that ACC regular title.  Duke was routinely beaten off the dribble, routinely beaten to loose balls and rebounds and not by world beaters, but by guys who probably would be third stringers on last year’s UNC team.

At the half, Duke did have 8 from its NPOY candidate Mason Plumlee, but Plumlee also had 4 turnovers and 2 fouls which would limit his aggressiveness.  That lack of aggressiveness would be a theme throughout the game for Plumlee, who did finish with 18 points and did not turn the ball over in the second half.  In fact, Duke as a team would only turn the ball over 6 times in the second half, conversely in the first, they coughed it up 11 times.  Where Plumlee would negatively impact the team is on the defensive end: guards after beating Duke off of the dribble would routinely have clear shots to the lane that Plumlee could not fill due to his foul trouble.  Luckily for Duke, UNC was offensively inept for most of the game and unable to fully embrace the opportunity that Duke afforded them.  If Duke is to make a true run at post season success, Duke either needs to develop Marshall Plumlee as a possibly sub for his older brother or change  up some of the defensive principles. I’m not at all saying that Mason was the reason for the closeness of this game, just a factor.  Mason did pull down 11 boards on his way to another double-double and had some great series on offense.  Duke doesn’t get as far as it has this season without Mason but he does need to keep his head in the game.  That being said, Mason is one of my favorite players on this team because that potential is right there for him to dominate, myself along with every other Duke fan hopes he captures it.

Duke will also need to shore up the turnovers, I mentioned earlier that they had 11 in the first half, 16 for the game.  Four of those were committed by starting point guard Quinn Cook.  There were a few miscommunications on plays but these things are fixable.  Cook also had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, but only 2 assists.  Obviously these numbers need to improve, and that staff full of former point guards will make sure of it.  I remember the struggles of former Duke guards like Nolan Smith who at first had a hard time finding that middle ground between being an aggressive scorer and a distributor.  Cook being only a sophomore and in his first healthy season will find that space and when he does, Duke should go from good to great.

All that being said, Duke was able to hang in there, got the lead down to 4 at halftime despite only having assisted on 3 baskets, 11 turnovers and shooting only 1-of-4 from 3 point range.  If those shots fall, you almost overlook the other stats because you have a lead, but to ignore them just because the game was won is dangerous.

Duke did rally in the second half on the strength of its shooters.  Seth Curry and Tyler Thornton sparked the comeback for Duke hitting big shots from beyond the arc, and Curry using his stutter step and step back moves to draw defenders to foul or getting open for the mid-range jumper.  Curry’s ability to read the defense and have an answer for whatever tactic his opponent uses is what makes him doubly dangerous.  Tyler Thornton would not let Duke lose this game.  Known as mostly a defensive stopper, Thornton hit 3 big shots from beyond the arc, and Duke would need each and every one.  Thornton finished with 9 points, but that doesn’t tell the story of his impact.  Often going unheralded in this lineup because of his limitations, he is quietly having a good year and showing just why he is more than worthy of Duke Blue.

UNC also had no answer for Rasheed Sulaimon, the freshman is quickly becoming a favorite of this blogger.  He has an eye for the basket, and has a game that extends from the rim on out, including a silky touch on mid-range jumpers.  His 11 points helped to secure the win for the Devils.

Duke made this game much harder than it had to be.  Simple things like proper boxing out, moving your feet on defense, making the smart play as opposed to the flashy one and valuing possessions are all things that against a better, smarter opponent make all the difference.

I am definitely not down on my team, I think this team is capable of big things, but accomplishing those big things depends on doing the small things and now GTHC.

 

 

 

Official Basketball Box Score
North Carolina vs Duke
02/13/13 9:10 PM at Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VISITORS: North Carolina 16-8, 6-5
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
43 James Michael McAdoo f  4-12   0-0    1-5    4  4  8   3   9  1  2  0  2  34
01 Dexter Strickland... g  5-8    0-0    4-4    0  2  2   3  14  0  2  0  1  34
05 Marcus Paige........ g  2-9    0-1    0-0    2  3  5   3   4  1  1  1  2  30
15 P.J. Hairston....... g  8-18   1-7    6-8    7  1  8   3  23  3  3  2  1  34
35 Reggie Bullock...... g  5-10   4-7    1-4    3  5  8   4  15  1  2  0  1  36
02 Leslie McDonald.....    1-6    0-3    0-0    2  2  4   0   2  1  1  0  1  20
11 Brice Johnson.......    0-2    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  1  0  0   4
14 Desmond Hubert......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
21 Jackson Simmons.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   4
25 J.P. Tokoto.........    0-1    0-0    1-2    0  0  0   1   1  1  1  0  0   3
   TEAM................                         2     2
   Totals..............   25-66   5-18  13-23  20 18 38  18  68  8 13  3  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-31 41.9%   2nd Half: 12-35 34.3%   Game: 37.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-7  42.9%   2nd Half:  2-11 18.2%   Game: 27.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-6  66.7%   2nd Half:  9-17 52.9%   Game: 56.5%   4,1

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Duke 22-2, 9-2
                          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  6-13   0-0    6-8    4  7 11   4  18  0  4  1  1  35
15 Josh Hairston....... f  1-2    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   2   2  1  1  0  0   9
02 Quinn Cook.......... g  6-12   0-3    6-6    0  6  6   4  18  2  5  0  4  37
14 Rasheed Sulaimon.... g  5-11   1-4    2-2    0  2  2   4  13  5  4  0  0  38
30 Seth Curry.......... g  3-10   2-5    3-4    2  3  5   4  11  1  2  1  0  29
03 Tyler Thornton......    3-4    3-4    0-0    2  1  3   2   9  0  1  0  0  28
12 Alex Murphy.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
21 Amile Jefferson.....    1-4    0-0    0-0    3  5  8   2   2  0  0  0  1  20
40 Marshall Plumlee....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
   TEAM................                         1  1  2
   Totals..............   25-56   6-16  17-20  12 27 39  22  73  9 17  2  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-31 38.7%   2nd Half: 13-25 52.0%   Game: 44.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-4  25.0%   2nd Half:  5-12 41.7%   Game: 37.5%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-6  66.7%   2nd Half: 13-14 92.9%   Game: 85.0%    3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officials: Karl Hess, Mike Eades, Bryan Kersey
Technical fouls: North Carolina-None. Duke-None.
Attendance: 9314
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
North Carolina................   33   35  -   68
Duke..........................   29   44  -   73

Points in the paint-NC 36,DU 32. Points off turnovers-NC 16,DU 12.
2nd chance points-NC 21,DU 12. Fast break points-NC 2,DU 9.
Bench points-NC 3,DU 11. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-3 times.
Last FG-NC 2nd-00:02, DU 2nd-03:48.
Largest lead-NC by 10 1st-06:42, DU by 8 2nd-05:02.

One Comment on “Duke Gets by Rival UNC – 73-68”

  1. Gotta agree with you completely. Our sloppiness and lack of intensity at home against Carolina was inexcusable. I couldn’t believe my eyes watching that game. Had we been playing a good team (like Miami or NC State from last week), we would have lost. The game was there for the taking and Carolina was too inept to do it. Just when I was feeling good about this team again, they play two terrible games in a row (BC and UNC). I’m suddenly feeling less optimistic about us in the tournament.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.