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Rivalry Renewed – Duke 79 – UNC 73

By February 10, 2011No Comments

Wow, I’m not sure I could have scripted a better outcome if I tried. I knew the Devils would have some trouble with North Carolinas length but I didn’t think UNC would be so efficient on the offensive end of the floor, nor did I think that they would force so many turnovers leading to break opportunities in the first half. They are definitely leaps and bounds over where they were early in the season, and I will have to eat some crow for saying that Roy Williams was doing a poor job of coaching the talent on this team. All of that being said, and as well as UNC played in the first half and as bad as Duke did in the first half, Duke did not look like they thought they were going to lose. The look in their eyes was a bit shell-shocked but not one of “this game is over”.

In the second half it was apparent the mindset had changed, Duke poured on the defensive intensity, forced some turnovers and got hot from the field as a result. With Kyle Singler and Harrison Barnes basically canceling each other out, the scoring had to come from somewhere other than Nolan Smith…Enter Mr. Curry… who scored 18 in the second half to go along with Nolan Smiths 22. For a stretch they put the team on their backs and carried them to the finish line. 40 of the 50 points that Duke scored in the second half came from the two guards, and that was more than Carolina as a team scored in the half. The fight returned to the Devils and minus a couple of runs, they controlled the action and the tempo in the latter half of the game.

Seth Curry in his first official game against Carolina was just a beast, an  old school style offensive set that is just fun to watch. Pump fakes, ball fakes, taking the mid-range jumper, his game is so fluid and he is just going to get better.

On the Carolina side, as expected Tyler Zeller had a great game abusing the Duke big men on the inside and getting garbage points off of stickbacks he’s definitely one of the top big men in the ACC and he showed that being Carolinas go-to guy on offense along with the lanky John Henson who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Kendall Marshall while not tossing 16 assists did have 6, some of them had that wow factor that he showed in his last outing, he seems to be the answer that UNC needs in the backcourt although he only went 3-11 from the field he steadies the offense and has the ability to get to the rim with relative ease. Not sure why it took Ole Roy so long to recognize that. As tough as UNC was in this game, just imagine them in March.

Words really don’t do a game like this justice, it’s one you really just have to watch and go through the gamut of emotions whether you pull for the dark or the light blue. It’s clear that this iteration of UNC is not last years team and  the rivalry is back and back strong. In Coach K’s own words “You talk about vintage Duke and North Carolina games, that was one of them”.

North Carolina Tar Heels
Tyler Zeller, F3210-140-04-67130013224
John Henson, F297-150-10-25121014314
Dexter Strickland, G222-40-02-202110156
Harrison Barnes, F303-81-32-316202139
Kendall Marshall, G373-110-03-602620139
Justin Knox, F101-20-01-202000103
Justin Watts, G70-20-10-001000010
Leslie McDonald, G163-71-51-102000228
Reggie Bullock, G170-50-40-015020040
Duke Blue Devils
Kyle Singler, F403-171-63-4382002110
Ryan Kelly, F191-71-51-217003234
Nolan Smith, G3713-233-65-7123102434
Mason Plumlee, F291-40-00-038110112
Tyler Thornton, G30-10-10-000000010
Miles Plumlee, F221-10-02-539011124
Seth Curry, G358-122-54-5465102322
Andre Dawkins, G151-31-30-000010213
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