Duke 89 UNC 78

Well that was painful.

First of all. Roy is pissed and rightfully so because nothing went right in this game and when I say that I mean nothing went right because the Tar Heel players largely played a crappy game.  Now, understand I am not piling on this team or trying to be overtly negative towards them.  I still think they are perfectly capable of meeting the expectations set for them and this game will bring them closer to that.  However, they played a horrible game in a situation where they all needed to play their best game of the season to compensate for a missing player.  My personal list of what went wrong goes like this.

  • The defense simply did not do it’s job after the first five minutes.  Roy said Duke got what they wanted and it’s true.
  • Wayne Ellington and Danny Green were horrible on offense to the tune of 4-24 for 11 points.  On one level I feel sorry for Ellington because he had some good looks in the second half and they just did not fall.  There were also a some bad shots at times which did not help. The lack of decent perimeter shooting meant the defense could key on Hansbrough.
  • Way too many turnovers.  And I am not talking about the turnovers Duke induced with their defense.  There were multiple stupid mistakes made and poor decisions across the board.
  • Bad FT shooting which is something that has not been an issue.  Hansbrough missing four FTs and UNC missing 11 out of 30 was extremely uncharacteristic.
  • Lack of any fast break points.  I think there was maybe 2-3 instances the UNC break looked normal.  This falls squarely on Lawson not being in the game and really could not be helped.
  • Lack of offensive flow in general which is also owed to Lawson not being in the game but at the same time needs to be worked out by the players on the floor. The most glaring problem was the fact Hansbrough did not touch the ball for long periods of time.

In the end it was a combination of a poorly executed game by UNC and breaks just not going their way.  It is really more of the former but when it was going south, it was really going south in every way.  Sometimes that happens and having Lawson in the game undoubtedly would have made a difference in various areas but as I said before the game, no excuses.  It happened and it is what it is.  Tyler Hansbrough had a monster game of the Sean May variety, his second straight game like that.  Marcus Ginyard played well and found his offensive game to try and pick up some of the slack left by Green/Ellington.  And Quentin Thomas had a decent game despite the six turnovers.  Thomas scored some big baskets early in the second half and attacked the Duke defense which put UNC in a position to get back in the game but not enough solid defense on the other end quickly defused that hope.

They say whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger.  In college basketball, any loss that does not end you season is an opportunity to improve.  The Heels had a horrible game.  It happens and contrary to the belief some people have that this decides what happens with the NCAA seeding in March, it actually may not matter at all.  The fact Lawson did not play devalues what happened in the eyes of the committee.  Also, because it was the first game, the committee tends to consider the later game and ACC Tournament as the more relevant games.  In other words, if UNC can win at Cameron and then win the ACC Tournament without losing any other games, UNC can grab that #1 seed in the East.  UNC needs to build on this loss.  The shame of what happened to Lawson is he was playing so well and it appeared in the BC game UNC was starting to cook.  Losing him for this game hurt and now UNC has to regroup, get him back and get ready to defend The Streak versus Clemson on Sunday.

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18 Responses to Duke 89 UNC 78

  1. nathan says:

    If I could go back in time and tell November-me that we would face #2 Duke without Lawson, without Frasor, with terrible games from Green and Ellington, awful free throw shooting, bad defense, idiotic turnovers, Duke raining threes all night, and Roy falling over with vertigo on the sidelines……….November me would have thought we must have gotten blown out of the building.

    Yet somehow we were down by 5 with 50 seconds left. I’m not really sure how we stayed in the game. UNC must have a lot of potential if an offense dependent on Quentin “Thomas and Marcus Ginyard (aside from the usual monster Hansborough output) kept us in the game.

  2. Stuart Crampton says:

    It was amazing that unc was still in the game with a mintue left, but we deserved to lose and got beat by a better team tonight. Where were Ellington and Greene? I kept asking that the wole game. It was as if it were 3 UNc players versus a good-shooting dook team. Very disappointing, but the next meeting with Lawson needs to be a 15 point win

  3. rlb says:

    i look at it this way we lost with a starter missing if we bounce back run the table even if dook win the acc beat them twice (end of the season and acc tournment) we will get the best seeding from the acc in the big dance. but this maybe a blessing because we find out a lot about our team. tyler is the star, lawson is the catylst, and ginyard is our leader who does what ever he is called upon to do. q thomas did a very admirable job and was not reason for the loss. hopefully the rest of the guys can become more consistent. if we can remeber 2004-05 team took a while before they really got going blowing a couple of games to dook and wf.

  4. C. Michael says:

    I’d even go so far as to say I wouldn’t be overly disappointed if UNC didn’t get the #1 in the East. Over the first 23 games, I’d say this team plays much better on the road, then they do at home, so going outside of N.C. may be the best thing, anyway.

  5. Mark says:

    How is the loss of an injured player factored into NCAA seeding? This subject has been brought up as a topic before, but with no clearly defined perimeters. Does it have to be a stater? What about a 6th man like Green or a Marvin- type player? In UNC’s case, it will obviously not affect whether or not they make the 64 team field, but it could affect their seeding and site placement.

  6. Joe in Toronto says:

    The fact that they were in the game until the final minute bodes well for whenTywon returns but it really does highlight the loss of Frasor. Frasor brought steady ball handling, good decision making and reasonable shooting…I think he could have made a big difference last night as well.

  7. Chris says:

    If I were Roy, I would relegate Ellington to 6th man status. Sure he scored 39 at Clemson to save the day, but that’s about it. Paulus comes down from Durham and showed our “pure shooter” how to shoot on his own rims. When did you see Ellington do anything last night other than miss shots? Rebound? no. Mediocre defense? yes. Steals? no Hustle? no. Down on the floor fighting for the ball? no. This young man’s high school reputation greatly overshadows his college game. Sit him and let him think about how to be like Tyler, and play hustling TEAM basketball. Start both Green and Ginyard and Thompson with Tyler and a guard. Green and Ginyard are at least making the effort. Ellington seems to be looking ahead to an NBA career which may not exist ,unless he begins to put forth some effort.

  8. 52BigGameJames says:

    I may be the only one who sees this so maybe I’m hallucinating, but as I watched the Duke players last night, I saw Singler, Henderson, and Thomas all talking/encouraging each other during breaks. Their focus was the collective defensive help effort on Tyler. He still got his, but they did enough to disrupt the Heels offense when needed. The defensive help itself wasn’t what was notable to me however, it was the unified team communication/support and collective determination on display by the Dukies. In regards to this, it didn’t even seem like we had a f***in team last night–on our home floor no less.

    It stood in stark contrast to what I observed from the Heels…jmho—-just sayin.

  9. Matt says:

    Any single factor mentioned in this post going the other way could have changed the outcome. Had two or more factors gone the other way we would have blown Duke out even with their shooting. I hate losing to Duke… absolutely hate it. But if the Heels can play without Lawson, and play that badly (and it was BAD!) then I really am not worried about what happens down the line.

  10. C. Michael says:

    And let’s not forget, it is the Chinese New Year, and it is now the ‘Year of the Rat,’ so I guess we should have seen this coming…

  11. MDtarheelfan says:

    I think what hurts the most is to admitt Dook is the better TEAM. Team defense and balanced scoring. We could not stop them but they did stop us. Nelson did not have a great game on the scorers sheet but UNC was so geared to stopping him that it left others wide open for shots. Tyler, Q and Ginyard were the only ones to show up last night. Ellington could not buy a shot. Not hitting from outside hurts the Heels so much. Where was Thompson in the second half? Why are our big men trying to play in your face D beyond the free throw line? Please keep Graves on the bench, he makes me scare my dogs. Greene and I are in a love-hate relationship. Is this the game that turns the season and we make the run? Thats what Dook looks like. I don’t see them losing in the ACC until they play us again. They look top 3. We look like a 5-7.
    I don’t mind losing that game if we play well, but when you play as poorly as we did that hurts. You see the holes this team has and it worries you that others will exploit the Heels too.
    I know we have the players and coaches to improve this team and look forward to the rematch and our next game against Clemson.

  12. Wilson says:

    I’m going to post something here that I wrote to the editor of the DTH today. It was not published today, I sent it a bit late. I hope they publish it tomorrow.

    TO THE EDITOR:

    Do we have a count on how many alumni gave away their tickets to
    Wednesday night’s Duke game? Because I don’t understand how any single
    alumnus of this incredible university could ever, EVER, leave a
    UNC/Duke game early.

    I don’t care what your bed time is, how creaky your joints are, or what
    time Matlock comes on: how could you ever leave a UNC/Duke game before
    the clock hits zero?

    As a student that loves UNC so much, I am amazed that anyone would pay
    tens of thousands of dollars to get seats in the Dean Dome, and then
    proceed to leave the greatest rivalry in all of sports at the last TV
    timeout, three minutes, thirty seconds to go.

    Do you not realize how satisfying your actions are to that clan from
    Durham? I have never been less proud of associating myself with UNC
    almuni than when I saw the mass exodus Wednesday night.

    The absolute worst part of the entire situation is that we came back,
    and had a great chance to win the game. But with the kind of support
    that our players received from the departed “faithful,” it was
    difficult to come up with any kind of a run.

    Our team didn’t play their best, but they gave us everything they had.
    It’d be nice if the alumni present at the game gave half the effort.
    And Coach would agree.

  13. […] game because we just could not match them without easy fast-break points. Some feel we didn’t play well and surely Wayne and Danny will rarely shoot that poorly.  The free throws misses were also […]

  14. patrick Heel says:

    Last night’s game was a heart breaker. I hate losing to the dookies more than anybody, but I must agree with the majority that we didn’t play well at all. It seemed like the three guys on the court was Ginyard, Tyler, and Q. Tyler, goes without saying, plays 100% all the time. It just seemed like the other players didn’t even care but I hope I’m wrong. Yes, I agree that Lawson not being in the game hurt us but there is no reason why we shouldn’t have won last night. They shot poorly at the free throw line and Green and Ellington couldn’t hit a broad side of a barn with a bowling ball. Another thing is we couldnt get the ball to Tyler like we have been doing, with Lawson in the game(but I give it to Q for a valid effort and a great game) and our defense still needs a lot of help. We need to guard that three point shot. That killed us all night. I hate Duke more than anyone and I hate to admit it but they played better than us last night. This better be a wake up call for them b/c it’s going to be even tougher at Cameron in March.

  15. […] the game because we just could not match them without easy fast-break points. Some feel we didn’t play well and surely Wayne and Danny will rarely shoot that poorly. The free throws misses were also […]

  16. Tardy Turtle says:

    The funny thing for me was that there were no surprises. That was the game we expected: Duke doubling in the paint, drive and dish, and Lawson’s absence disrupting the offensive flow. The coaches had to be preparing them for all of those factors. But they looked unprepared: they stopped passing to the post, they left shooters open, and Q took a while to settle in. Duke said they practiced as if Lawson was going to play, it almost looked as if the Heels did too.

    It’s simply lack of preparation which is the responsibility of both the coaches and the players. The good news is that you can prepare better, you can work more and learn your lesson and play the same team better next time.

  17. Andy In Omaha says:

    Chris, I can almost agree with you completely on benching Ellington. I think Green’s defense and rebounding has improved 100% from last year. Ellington seems to either be white hot or ice cold with nothing in between. It seems like he’s content to just spot and shoot (or take one or two steps and shoot) without driving to the hoop and keeping defenders off their game. However, remember the Matt Doherty experiment in benching McCants?
    On a side note, someone needs to get Will Graves some composure. Anyone have any they’d like to give? This kid just seems like a nervous wreck with the ball.
    One of my friends at work who is an avid Duke fan said that Lawson AND Frasor would have limited Paulus’ production, and even asked me why Ginyard wasn’t on him when the three’s were raining down. I don’t know how tall Duke’s 2 guards are, but I doubt Thomas could have handled it.
    Duke 1, UNC 0. I’ve seen stranger things happen, but it would not surprise me at all if UNC takes the matchup at Cameron. I think these two teams have shown that the homecourt doesn’t provide much of an advantage.

  18. TxTarheel says:

    BigGame wrote earlier: The defensive help itself wasn’t what was notable to me however, it was the unified team communication/support and collective determination on display by the Dukies. In regards to this, it didn’t even seem like we had a f***in team last night–on our home floor no less.

    I think there’s a measure of truth here. I’ve seen practically no switching / help-side D during ACC play. It’s a reason Maryland beat UNC how they did, and how Duke got absolutely the most wide-open looks from 3 a team could hope for. Seriously, how is Tyler going to defend D Nelson or Henderson out on the perimeter or wing? While still very good…I sense something lacking that defines a legit title-contender. Watch UCLA play defense & you’ll see it there.

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