It was ugly, I’ll take it but it was ugly.
The most important aspect of this game is the degree to which it answered the criticism of UNC for it’s lack of toughness in a road game. Cameron is as hostile as it gets and the knock on UNC against NC State was that when the opposing team was hot and things were going poorly for the Tar Heels the players were at a loss in how to respond. This game unfolded much the same way the NC State game did with Duke coming out shooting the ball really well and UNC lacking the necessary intensity on defense. On the other end of the court Duke’s defense frustrated the Heels and Duke opened up a 10 point lead. Into the second half Duke once again opened up a 10 point lead but whatever Roy said in the locker room at halftime it made a difference as UNC ramped up the defense and the depth finally took a toll on Duke in the final seven minutes. In short it was a tough, ugly, gritty win when more went wrong than went right and in the end the superior depth and talent won out.
- I am still confused about the rotation. It seemed like Frasor was in for Lawson for an extensive period which did not make sense unless, like Miller being in for Ellington, it was totally a defensive move.
- Brandan Wright had the quietest 19 points I have ever seen. He also need to focus on his effort out there. He could stand to be more aggressive on the defense than he is now.
- Reyshawn Terry came to play. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds. There were some brain lock moments but I think it was Terry’s play that kept UNC afloat early on.
- John Scheyer is the next annoying-because-he-hits-every-three-he-shoots guard at Duke.
- Hansbrough ended up with 15 points and he worked for every last one of them.
- The play of Lawson late was incredible. As quick as he is, how much quicker do you think he is when the opposing guards have lead in their feet from being tired?
- Duke has lost three straight, two straight at home, and is now in very real danger of a .500 or worse finish with so many games on the road the rest of the way.