What a game!!! Duke was down early by 11, but after Tyler Hansbrough's 2nd foul, Duke climbed back in the game. They went from not being able to hit a shot, to shooting 61.8% from the field. Paulus, Scheyer, and Henderson hit big shots in the first half. Carolina stayed in the game with great starts from Bobby Frasor and Deon Thompson who went 7-8 from the field for 16 points in the first half. Thompson looked like he was on track to outshine last season's player of the year after he hit everything that came out of his hands.
To my surprise, Duke was able to battle on the boards against the Tarheels who are much bigger and more athletic. Duke lost the rebounding edge 30-33, but they hustled last night. As always Duke relies on the 3 point shot and towards the end of the first half it looked as though Duke was catching fire and Carolina was okay with them shooting those shots.
I don't know what happened at halftime, but all of the momentum went from Duke to Carolina quickly. I think the most important play early in the second half was the steal by Wayne Ellington and his layup. That was his first bucket of the game and it got him in his groove. You always hear the worst thing to do against a shooter who is having a terrible game is give him a layup or give him a free throw. Ellington hit the layup, a possession or two later he came back and hit a 3 and Carolina was on a roll.
The star of the game was Ty Lawson. Lawson ended the first half with 4 points and 1 assist. In the second half not only did Carolina pick it up on the defensive end, Lawson started playing ball. Lawson destroyed the Duke back court, including his friend Nolan Smith, by getting to the rim at will and finishing. He ended the game with 25 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds and the hearts of all the Duke fans.
In the end, this was expected. Carolina has the bigger and better team. They didn't play up to expectations in the first half, but their second half dominance showed us all why many have picked them to win it all this year. Duke needs an inside presence, badly. Where are the Elton Brands and the Carlos Boozers of the world? Carolina is #1 in the ACC and Duke is tied for 2nd place with 3 other teams. UNC won the game 101 - 87.