#2 Duke vs. #3 North Carolina – Live Blogging


Final Duke 89-78. A huge win for the Devils. After a rough start from the free throw line, they finished 11-16 in the final three minutes. Seriously, who would have predicted a 20-1 start?

2:43 Duke 78-70. Huge miss by Ellington that would have cut the lead to five. That ball did everything but go down. Right now Duke is 5-11 from the free throw line. You can not do that. Carolina is ready to play the foul game and the Devils will need to sink them. If Duke loses, that will be the reason why.

3:36 Duke 76-68. The W is in reach. Duke is playing the spread offense. They need to score if they’re going to slow this game down. The ball needs to be in the hands of Henderson and Nelson. For some reason, Carolina has Hansbrough on Nelson. Let’s see if they keep that up. Deon Thompson has fouled out. It’s a big loss; he’s solid D in the middle and he’s shot 5-6 (10 points) from the floor. Quick thought; Singler with some monster rebounds late in this game. Solid.

7:08 Duke 68-61. This game is going down to the wire. The winner will be whichever team does what it does best down the stretch; Carolina going inside, Duke driving to the basket. Carolina has struggled from behind the three (1-6), if they are behind late, they’re going to be in trouble.

9:28 Duke 62-57. Lance Thomas is having his best game of the year (10 points so far). Hansbrough is starting to take over on offense. He just passed Michael Jordan in scoring at Carolina (11th all time). Duke is suddenly getting cold from the 3, and when they’re missing, they’re missing bad. They’re 4-14 after starting 7-10. Nelson is back in, let’s see how aggressive he plays with four fouls. The Devils need to start taking it back in the paint. Henderson hasn’t been looking for his pull up jumper.

11:47 Duke 58-51. Both teams have gone cold, while refs continue to call a strange second half. Duke’s young guns (Smith, King) are forcing it. Paulus has flopped a little here in the second half, but so has Hansbrough. Speaking of, I can’t figure out why he’s not touching it every time. Watching him, he reminds me of a tougher Laettner (with less range). I have to wonder, if he was on Duke, would he be the most hated player in America? Answer: Yes.

You know, for all those jerseys hanging from the rafters, Carolina only has four championships to show for it. Too harsh?

15:47 Duke 55-51. Duke is barely holding onto the lead. Carolina appears to be playing better, yet they just can’t take the lead. Paulus is saving Duke with his 3’s. Carolina has obviously decided to bump our ball handers off the screen, but the refs are calling them on it. Let’s see if they keep it up. Terrible foul call at the 16:16 mark on Nelson. He didn’t touch anyone under the Carolina basket. This could be huge; he now has four. Let’s mark it down; two-point game with Nelson on the bench. I’m questioning a lot of calls (both ways) by the refs. I thought they called a great first half, but so far in the second, not so good.

Half Time, Duke 42-39. Suddenly, at the four minute mark, Duke’s O disappeared, allowing Carolina to finish off the half on a 8-0 run. Hansbrough again took over. How can Carolina not get the ball into his hands every signal possession? He’s got 18 points (9-13). Duke’s offense was flowing, but suddenly everything stopped working. Carolina has done a better job stopping the high screens, but the missing piece has been Nelson. Coach K sat him around the five minute mark (he has two fouls) and the team has been lost since.

Look for Duke to come back out launching 3’s. They also need to try to prevent Hansbrough from receiving the ball (easier said than done) since they can’t stop him with the ball.

2:06 Duke 420-33. Free throws, you have to make them…2-6, not going to do it.

3:55 Duke 39-31. You can tell the Heels miss Lawson. Ellington looks out of it right now. So far, Duke has two free throws mad (2-4); not going to win this game that way. Dumb foul on Thomas at 5:04. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. So far, so good. Duke is nailing the 3’s and forcing turnovers (seven steals). They got a very quiet 10-point lead. The Carolina faithful are trying to get into the game, but are struggling (they started off booing Henderson every time he touched the ball, but they’ve stopped since the Heels fell behind.

Why is Hansbrough playing so far out on offensive? When did he become a guard?

7:51 Duke 27-22. Duke has nailed 7-11 of their 3’s. However, fouls are starting to add up (four since the last break). Also, Carolina is having a block party in the paint. I’ve counted four in the game. Duke needs to forget about them and keep attacking the middle. I don’t see them shooting 70% from the three line all game long. If I was Coach K, I’d bring Taylor  King back in and let’s see what he can do camped out on the 3-line.

It’s raining 3’s right now. Carolina is giving Duke all kinds of space. Duke commits fouls on three straight possessions; two dump fouls. Nelson now has two and he’ll go to the bench.

Carolina fans made posters of Henderson with the title: WANTED. ESPN explains that Henderson and Hansbrough played together during pick up ball.

11:33 Tied 18-18. After nailing a 3, Nolan Smith seems to be forcing it, coach goes back with Paulus. So far, everything is going the way everyone has projected. Carolina controlling the paint, Duke nailing the 3’s (4-7). Hansbrough hasn’t scored since coming back off the bench.

14:54 UNC 12-10. So far, clean game, both teams look focused. So far, no answer for Hansbrough. He’s nailing the outside shot (8 points). Duke’s taken four 3’s, hitting two. Oddly, no fouls called yet on anyone. The one time Hansbrough went to the low post, Duke doubled him and he turned it over. Again, good start to the game.

Prior to the Game – Great to have Dickie V back. Lawson’s not starting playing. Good news for Duke.

I’m not real big on live blogging, but I thought tonight, why not? Let’s get starter.