On This Date in Carolina Basketball
March 8, 2008
North Carolina-76 Duke-68
by Rick Brewer, Sports Information Director Emeritus
DURHAM - Top-ranked North Carolina ended the game on a 10-0 run and defeated No. 6 Duke, 76-68, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The win was the Tar Heels' eighth in a row and clinched first place in the ACC regular-season race. Carolina finished 14-2 in the league standings while Duke dropped to second at 13-3.
The Tar Heels led almost the entire game until the Blue Devils tied the score 57-57 and again at 66-66. A layup by Jon Scheyer then gave Duke its first lead since 3-2. That 68-66 advantage came with 5:42 left. The Blue Devils never scored again, missing their last 11 shots.
Wayne Ellington tied the game with a layup, Tyler Hansbrough scored on an offensive rebound and Ty Lawson hit two free throws. Danny Green tipped in a missed shot on a fast break and later finished the scoring with a dunk.
Green had come off the bench to score 14 first half points and Wayne Ellington had nine as Carolina took 42-31 lead at intermission. DeMarcus Nelson, playing his final home game, was held scoreless in the first half. Greg Paulus kept the Blue Devils in the game with 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
Green finished the game with 18 points, eight rebounds, seven blocks and two steals. Ellington and Hansbrough had 16 each. Hansbrough also had 15 rebounds. Lawson, still coming back from an ankle injury, had 10 points off the bench. Paulus led Duke with 15 and Scheyer had 14.
A key was Carolina using a defense Roy Williams had never employed in the past. Instead of fighting through screens, defenders switched on every screen. He was hoping to cut down on Duke's three-point scoring. The Blue Devils shot a season-low 32.9 percent from the floor and made only 10 of 29 threes. Carolina blocked 15 of Duke's 47 two-point shots.
Officials let the two teams play. Hansbrough did not attempt a free throw for the first time all year. Only nine fouls were called in the entire second half. At the end, that hurt the Blue Devils. With just two team fouls heading into the last two minutes, they couldn't slow play by putting Carolina on the free throw line.
The win improved the Tar Heels' overall record to 29-2. Duke slipped to 26-4.