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Off the cuff: My All-ACC team is: Ty Lawson (MVP), Tyler Hansbrough, Jack McClinton of Miami, Toney Douglas of Florida State and Gerald Henderson of Duke. Second team: Tyrese Rice of Boston College, Kyle Singler of Duke, Jeff Teague of Wake, Trevor Booker of Clemson and Greivis Vasquez of Maryland. Third team: Danny Green, Wayne Ellington, James Johnson of Wake, A.D. Vassallo of Virginia Tech and Jeff Allen of Virginia Tech.

Regarding Tyler Hansbrough's emotional off-the-cuff speech after the game... I loved it. Raw emotion, deep and thoughtful remarks. He was clearly uncomfortable and shifted back and forth with the microphone like a nervous first-grader in a play (yeah, I did that playing the part of Walter Cronkite in a play about the space program).

The speech could have been even more touching if the fans didn't laugh throughout, evidently not understanding the significance and real emotions coming through. Most of the other seniors joked throughout their remarks so I suppose they thought Hansbrough was going to be funny too. I'm glad he wasn't.

Four seniors - Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green and Mike Copeland - started the game. I suppose Coach Roy Williams didn't want to risk starting a walk-on in such a big situation or all five starters would have been seniors. The senior walk-ons are Patrick Moody, JB Tanner and Jack Wooten.

Coach Williams did send all seven players on the court for the jumpball to start the game as a way of honoring them. The referees told him in advance that they would simply send the players back to the bench rather than giving a technical foul or anything.

During the senior speeches, I was heartened that most of the players were not shy about espousing their faith. It seems people are more likely to feel comfortable cussing or showing off these days than risking the wrath of honoring and giving credit to Jesus Christ.

I felt like saying "Jesus Christ" a few times as Carolina couldn't seem to hit a free throw for a while there. Hansbrough missed the front end of a one-and-one, I think, for the first time this season and Ellington, who is an 85 percent free throw shooter, was only one of five.

I was glad CBS had the good sense to switch people in the North Carolina viewing area to the start of the game even though the Missouri Valley Conference championship game was in overtime. Unfortunately, the long game did rob us of seeing Hansbrough and his parents walk on the court for Senior Day and it robbed us of seeing the player introductions.

Northern Iowa defeated Illinois State in that game. I wondered who cared and it obviously wasn't CBS studio announcer Greg Gumbel who, during a game break, said that "Northern Illinois" won the game.

Coach Williams complained to the refs at the half that Gerald Henderson traveled before a last-second shot. Tivo replays showed that he was right. Henderson took three steps after dribbling once.

Duke's Scheyer was just tremendous as he didn't miss a shot, including going three-for-three from behind the arc. It didn't matter if a Carolina player was in his face or not. Duke could finally go far in the NCAA tournament if he keeps that up.

I'm a little anxious about the Tar Heels cutting down the nets for winning the regular season title. There are still ACC tournament nets, regional nets and NCAA finals nets out there. I remember in '82, James Worthy was asked why UNC didn't cut down the ACC tournament nets after winning the title. He said, "those aren't the nets we want." While it's nice for the seniors to have those nets, they aren't the nets the Tar Heels want. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, anything short of a national title will be a disappointment for them and most Carolina fans.

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Heels 79, Dukies 71
UNC beats rival on Sr. Day to win title

In a tight game throughout, North Carolina beat its arch-rival Duke Blue Devils 79-71 on Senior Day to win the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title. (3/8)

Tyler Hansbrough, the most heralded senior, scored 17 and fouled out with less than 14 seconds to play and the game in hand. The break gave Carolina fans an opportunity to show its appreciation of the All-America player, who holds the all-time scoring record at Carolina and is closing in on the all scoring record in the ACC.

UNC, now 27-3 overall and 13-3 in the ACC, go into the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Carolina trailed 37-36 at the half but were able to get the lead to seven at 55-48 on free throws by Ty Lawson, who played despite an injured toe that threatened to sideline him.

Still up by seven at 65-58, the Tar Heels could not put away the Blue Devils. Jon Scheyer, who scored a game-high 24 points, was fouled shooting a three-pointer and sank all three free throws to make it 65-61 with 5:19 to go.

UNC's Danny Green missed a dunk and seconds later Duke's Gerald Henderson went in for a transition dunk to draw the Devils to within a field goal at 65-63.

Deon Thompson scored and was fouled on the next possession and with the free throw got the advantage back to five at 68-63 with 4:46 to go. A fastbreak pass from Lawson to Wayne Ellington for a layup stretched the lead to 70-63 with 4:25 left.

Duke wasn't finished however as Scheyer drained a three with 3:20 to go to make it 70-68 but Green drilled a three of his own just 10 seconds later to make it 73-68.

The game finally was in hand when Lawson drove aggressively to the basket, scored and was fouled with 1:03 left. After the free throw, UNC led 76-69. It never got closer.

Carolina led by as many as five points in the first half at 12-7 while Duke led by as many as three points in the opening half at 33-30.

Down 41-38 early in the second half, the Heels outscored Duke 7-0 to take a lead their never relinquished. A driving basket by Ellington, followed by a three by Green and a 15-footer by Lawson put Carolina up 45-41.

The Blue Devils cut it to one three times but each time the Tar Heels retaliated. Up 48-47, Carolina went on a 7-1 run to take that 55-48 lead. A turnaround jumper by Thompson and a three by Ellington highlighted the run.

Ellington scored 16 points while Thompson added 14. Green, on his Senior Day, finished with 12 points. Lawson, who sank nine of 10 free throws, added 13 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Hansbrough's team-high 17 points included two three pointers, the first time he's hit more than one three in a game.

Kyle Singler, who scored 15 points in the first half, ended with 23 points for Duke, which finishes the regular season at 25-6 and 11-5 in the ACC.


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