Duke fought hard. At many times they cut the lead to within reach. However, the quickness of North Carolina turned out to be the difference. From the start UNC looked to be the more dominant team. They were able to do whatever they wanted, and Lawson drove to the basket with little opposition. Duke’s defense, which never showed up against Maryland, and it again, never really showed up in this game.
Much will be said about what happened in the final seconds. UNC’s Hansbrough was grabbing at an offensive rebound, when Henderson who was going for the same rebound, smacked his forearm into Hansbrough’s face. Hansbrough hit the deck, and when he came up, was covered with blood. He attempted to get into a scrum with the Blue Devils, but was taken to the locker room. The officials went to the monitor, and decided to eject Henderson. Henderson will now have to sit out Duke’s next game against NC State in the opening round of the ACC tournament. In my opinion, Henderson was going for a block when Hansbrough pump faked. The ball was jarred loose, and what happened was a possible shooting foul, to a supposed intentional foul. I don’t think it was in anyway intentional, but the national media will fly with it. Pat Forde, from ESPN, has already written and ridiculous article about Duke having a black eye now. Like many journalist, I am sure Forde love’s the opportunity to write hate about the Blue Devils.
Greg Paulus, who continues to be a scoring machine, put up 21 points for the Blue Devils. His defense against Lawson was terrible, as Lawson was able to do whatever he wanted when Paulus was on him. Also besides the 21 points, Paulus gave the ball up 4 times, and eventually fouled out of the game.
Jon Scheyer, who was the big scorer for the Blue Devils in the first match up against UNC, was never able to get into a groove. Credit the UNC defense with containing Scheyer and never letting him get hot. He ended up with 10 points.
Gerald Henderson for the entire game was able to create his own shot, and managed to have his best game as a Blue Devil. However, he will have to live with the moment at the end of the game. Henderson will hopefully be able to get back with the team in the ACC tournament on Friday, counting on a Duke win Thursday.
Josh McRoberts did nothing the entire game. His stat sheet will read 9 points and 10 boards. However, compared with Hansbrough looked like a bench player. McRoberts looked lost most of the game, and continued his streak of not showing up when it counted. McRoberts will have to show something in the ACC and NCAA tournament to prove to everyone that he can be a superstar.
DeMarcus Nelson was another double figure scorer for Duke with 14 points. However, it took him shooting 5-15 from the field. Nelson is a great scorer for the Devils, but his shot selection has been suspect all season.
The regular season is over, and the Blue Devils didn’t finish it the way they wanted. They will go into the ACC tournament as the number 7 seed. First up, NC State. A win on Thursday would mean a match up against Virginia who has a bye. All Duke needs to do is get one win. Then hopefully the momentum and confidence will get back on the Blue Devils side.