Home Page banner.cb3cartoon.
Check back prior to the 2008 season for a preview and a program outlook.
Click here for Carolina baseball analysis.

Off the cuff: Erratic three-point shooting and poor foul shooting finally caught up to Carolina this year in a game against rival Duke.

It was really a remarkable first half for the Tar Heels as they made Duke look slow. Carolina players were hitting their shots and getting out quickly on the fast break.

But in the second half Duke picked up its intensity and Carolina couldn't buy a basket from outside of about five feet away from the basket.

Carolina was still there late in the game and would have had a good chance at winning if the Heels could have hit their free throws and at least a couple of three pointers.

The Tar Heels were 0 of six from behind the arc in the second half and only two of 14 for the game. Duke got 18 more points from three-point land and two more free throws. That's a 20-point differential.

Carolina hit just 13 of 22 free throws plus the two players best from beyond the arc went a combined one of nine. Freshman Reggie Bullock was 0 of four from three while Leslie McDonald was 1 of five from three. Dexter Strickland, who had been shooting well lately, was in foul trouble and didn't even take a three and took only four shots.

Meanwhile Duke's Nolan Smith scored a career-high 34 points and Seth Curry added a career-high 22. The two scored 41 of Duke's 50 second-half points.

Did you see how excited the Blue Devils players, staff and fans were to defeat Carolina, a team they beat by 32 points a year ago? We're talking about the reigning national champions acting almost as if they had won the national championship. I guess that demonstrates the importance of this game and this rivarly.

Duke 79, Tar Heels 73
Devils rally in second half to top Heels

Up by 14 at the half, North Carolina couldn't hold on as Duke went on a 25-11 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half to tie it and went on defeat the Heels 79-73 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. (2/9)

The Blue Devils outscored Carolina 50-30 in the second half after falling behind by as many as 16 points in the first half. Nolan Smith and Seth Curry led a more aggressive Duke team in the second half combining for 41 of the team's 50 second-half points.

But it was an open three by Ryan Kelly with 9:10 left that gave Duke its first lead of the game at 57-55. Carolina played catch-up the rest of the game as the Devils stretched the lead up to as many as six points.

A follow shot by Tyler Zeller got the Heels within three at 73-70 with 38 seconds left but it never got closer.

Carolina started the game with an 8-0 run highlighted by a Kendall Marshall driving layup in the first minute and a Harrison Barnes three a minute and a half in.

With just over five minutes gone, Duke drew to within a bucket at 14-12 after Nolan Smith popped a three from the right corner. But an aggressive Carolina offensive and defense led to a 10-3 run that put the Heels up 24-15. That run was capped by a Dexter Strickland driving layup that started at midcourt.

The lead hovered around 10 before a Barnes fastbreak after a missed Duke free throw led to an old-fashioned three-point play to put Carolina up 41-27. A reverse layup follow by Tyler Zeller with a minute left in the half put the Heels shockingly up by 16 points, the largest lead of the half.

The Heels were up 43-29 at the half but a quick 8-0 run by Duke changed the complexion of the game. Offensive rebounds on second free throws led to three-pointers by Duke, giving them basically two four-point plays in the first two and a half minutes of the second half.

"They keep coming at you, they keep coming at you, they keep coming at you," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "And you have to keep coming back at them." He said five opportunities for second shots after offensive rebounds in the first few minutes of the second half hurt.

Williams said inexperience was some of it but it was mostly Duke's defense and Carolina's inability to execute against it that made the difference.

Smith scored a career-high 34 points while Curry had a career-high 22 points for Duke, now alone atop the ACC with an 8-1 mark.

Carolina, which struggled from the free throw line and from beyond the arc, was led by two big men - Zeller with 24 points and 13 rebounds and John Henson with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

UNC, which falls to 17-6 and 7-2 in the ACC, now must travel to Clemson Saturday for another tough game.



Check out the other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on by clicking here.

© 2009 CB3media Cary, NC