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Off the cuff: It would have been a tremendous win if the Tar Heels could overcome the loss of Lawson and found a way to beat the Devils at home. I'm not sure if the coach could have kept me out of playing against Duke. So, I have to assume Lawson's injury is pretty bad.

Duke's offense was smooth and led to open shots. Carolina's offense was ragged and led to bad shots and turnovers. That's about the size of it really - except that the Heels also missed open shots.

Hansbrough played his heart out. Thompson got called for ticky-tack fouls that limited him. Alex Stepheson seemed a step slow and a bit out of it. Q was ok except for that stretch when the Devils opened up a double-digit lead for the first time.

If Wayne Ellington wants to turn pro after this season, he better pick up his shooting. He was 0 for 6 from the three-point arc. Danny Green was only one of 10 from the floor. Duke's defense was good but not that good.

Bench scoring for Carolina amounted to only four points. A free throw by Will Graves and a late three pointer by Green. Depth, the thing most of us thought was Carolina's strength at the first of the season, has taken a hit. How much does Carolina miss Bobby Frasor now?

Those of us watching the game in North Carolina did not get to hear and see Dickie V's return to the microphone. We got the ACC TV feed featuring Billy Packer, who incidently voiced a Duke "air ball" call - even though it wasn't really an air ball because it hit the backboard. No, I will not get over my "air ball" kick. To read more about my aversion to emulating Dukies, please click here.

Devils 89, Heels 78
Hot Duke burns cold Carolina, who misses Lawson

UNC found out just before the game that Ty Lawson, nursing a bad ankle, would not play. Some of the life seemed to go out of the home crowd and their apparent fears were realized when Carolina's shooters couldn't keep up with Duke's as the Devils took control of the ACC race with a 89-78 win at UNC. (2/6)

Greg Paulus ripped the Tar Heels for six three-pointers in eight attempts to keep the ice cold Heels at arms' length. Paulus set the tone with a three to begin the game. After Carolina went up 18-13 for its biggest lead, Duke's Jon Scheyer drilled a couple of threes, including one with the shot clock running down to put the Devils on top for good at 21-18.

Paulus followed with another three to put Duke up six at 24-18. The lead got as big as 11 in the first half as Paulus drained another one over the Heels' rare zone defense to put the Devils up 42-31.

The Heels made a frantic run at the end of the half, outscoring Duke 8-0 over the last four minutes to draw them to within three at 42-39.

Carolina drew to within one early in the second half but Paulus' fifth straight three pointer go the lead up to five. Midway through the second half, Carolina was still within striking distance at 62-57. But another Duke three, this one by Kyle Singler, put the Devils up 71-62 with 6:20 to go.

Duke got the lead up to 82-71 before Carolina made one last little run. A driving layup by Quenton Thomas, three Heel free throws and a three-point shot by Green drew it to 83-78 with 54 seconds left. But missed shots by Carolina and subsequent free throws by ended all hope.

UNC coach Roy Williams didn't blame the defeat on the loss of Lawson but instead said that Duke was more disciplined and did the little things better, which he attributed to better coaching.

Still, with Lawson out, the Heels needed Thomas to play well and while he got a career-high 10 points, he also turned the ball over six times, most of which led to points. Also, with Lawson out, the Heels needed Danny Green and Wayne Ellington to shoot well and neither did as they shot a combined four for 24. In fact, Deon Thompson, who got in foul trouble and eventually fouled out, and the Mr Consistency Tyler Hansbrough were the only Carolina players who shot well.

But Hansbrough was uncharacteristically poor from the foul line, as were most of the Heels who finished just 19 of 30 from the charity stripe. Still, Hansbrough led the way with 28 points and 18 rebounds. Ginyard scored 18 points, most from the foul line, and Thompson scored 12.

Duke had six players in double figures. In addition to Paulus, Scheyer scored 17, Singler had 14 points, DeMarcus Nelson had 13, Gerald Henderson had 12 and Lance Thomas finished with 10.

The Tar Heels fall to 21-2 and 6-2 in the ACC while Duke is in the driver's seat with a 20-1 and 8-0 record.

Check out the game box score and a game photo gallery.
Take a look at other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on WRAL.com by clicking here.

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