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Cameron Classic: Duke Slips By UNC In Overtime Thriller

In another memorable chapter in the Tobacco Road rivalry, the No. 15 North Carolina men’s basketball team fell in overtime, 92-90, to No. 4 Duke Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

***Listen to the story***

Carolina built a ten-point second half lead with 3:51 to play to stun the Cameron Crazies, but the Tar Heels were unable to seal the deal in the closing minutes. The Blue Devils took full advantage of UNC miscues to force overtime at 81-all and ultimately complete the comeback victory.

With the loss, the Tar Heels dropped to 18-8 overall and an 8-5 mark in ACC play while the Blue Devils improved to 23-3 on the season with a 10-3 record in the league.

“It’s tough for this game to always live up to the hype,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski says. “But I think tonight’s game exceeded it.”

This topsy-turvy edition of the Battle of the Blues was played at a feverish, hectic pace and saw a number of players on both sides rise to the occasion, but it was Duke guard Tyus Jones who shone the brightest on this night, delivering the goods in the clutch and finishing with 22 points and seven rebounds.

Tyus Jones talks with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, a former point guard himself. (The Herald-Sun)

Tyus Jones talks with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, a former point guard himself. (The Herald-Sun)

Duke’s Quinn Cook also had an outstanding game, contributing 22 points of his own while playing a whopping 45 minutes of the grueling contest that forced millions of viewers to stay up well past their bedtimes.

Notably, one UNC player was surprisingly quiet. Marcus Paige, normally an offensive catalyst for the Tar Heels, struggled to get open against the disciplined defense of Jones and when he did get shots off, he missed the mark completely, only managing to tally five points on 2-11 shooting.

“My teammates came to battle. They played fantastic the whole game. And I didn’t really give them anything,” Paige says.

In Paige’s place, a supporting cast of Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto was forced to take a starring role. The trio handled the promotion well, playing with an intensity and focus rarely seen so far in their careers.

Meeks and Johnson finished with 18 points apiece while Tokoto supplied 15 points that included a couple electrifying dunks that silenced the hostile crowd briefly each time.

But ironically, it was normally exquisite passer Meeks, whose carelessly tossed pass actually turned the tables late in the game and paved the path for a Duke rally.

“If you just care about college basketball then you had to enjoy that part of it. But I happen to love North Carolina, so it’s not as agreeable with me,” UNC head coach Roy Williams says.

***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***

Duke sped out of the gates with a fury, staking a 13-4 lead with 16:41 on the first half clock. UNC appeared nervous in the opening minutes but settled down quickly to survive the Blue Devil storm.

Paige couldn't get much going Wed. night (Photo Courtesy ESPN)

Paige couldn’t get much going Wed. night (Photo Courtesy ESPN)

The Tar Heels battled hard and received contributions from a variety of players to cut the devfcit down to 40-36 after a Joel James layup with 4:12 to play before intermission.

At the halftime buzzer, Duke held a 49-42 advantage thanks to early hot shooting.

The start of the second half was dominated by the guys in Carolina blue. The Tar Heels got their offense flowing with crisp passing and unselfish ball movement. What’s more, their defense was suffocating. In full flight, UNC was something to see. The scoreboard reflected the spike in play too with Carolina sporting a 77-67 advantage with 3:51 to go.

But down the stretch, careless mistakes started to creep in. Missed foul shots didn’t help matters any either. Duke, meanwhile, turned up the defensive intensity and suprised Carolina by not settling for three-pointes when falling behind by double-digits.

Instead, the Blue Devils raised their toughness level and began driving straight to the basket, finishing the shots around the rim and often, drawing a foul.

The overtime period was tight throughout, but it was clear who had all the momentum. With the Cameron crowd in a frenzy, it was hard to imagine a scenario where UNC emerged victorious. But still, the Tar Heels had plenty of chances. But in the end, Duke snagged the all-important rebound to seal the deal off an intentional Carolina free throw miss.

In a lighter moment, before the game, Coach Krzyzewski and Coach Williams embraced while teammates from both squads put their arms around each other at midcourt for a poignant moment of silence to honor the late Dean Smith. The silence in Cameron Indoor was breathtaking – almost like a cathedral. Some fans even wore T-shirts in Duke’s color scheme and lettering that read DEAN in place of the usual DUKE.

Outside of the final outcome, an emotional Coach Williams says he was pleased with his team’s fight.

“For the most part, I really enjoyed the toughness and the poise of my team. Yes, we missed some free throws and wide open shots, but that’s college basketball. It’s 18, 19, 20, 21-year-old kids. We’ve been through a tough stretch. I am really proud of my team,” Coach Williams says.

Will UNC’s spirited effort against its rival serve as fuel to the fire going forward or will it represent a last gasp, of sorts, to a season that hasn’t been going in the right direction lately?

The answer will begin to reveal itself this weekend. The Tar Heels will return to action Saturday for a high noon meeting in the Smith Center with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/cameron-classic-duke-slips-unc-overtime-thriller/

Underdog Tar Heels Meet ‘Offensively Balanced’ Blue Devils At Cameron

The No. 15 North Carolina men’s basketball team,18-7 overall and 8-4 in the ACC, travels down Tobacco road Wednesday night to renew its rivalry with No. 4 Duke, 22-3 on the season with a 9-3 mark in the league. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils will square off in iconic Cameron Indoor Stadium at 9 p.m.

***Listen to the story***

“This is the best game, and it’s the best game because you have two of the top five programs to ever play college basketball going against one another. We’re only eight miles apart and both great schools. There’s a level of excellence, individual and collective, in an area that has loved basketball,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski says.

This 239th installment of Carolina-Duke is once again ushered in by a rare ice storm, but unlike last year’s Snowmageddon that forced the Smith Center rivalry meeting to be called off, this season’s edition should go off without a hitch in sweaty and cramped Cameron.

Coach K (GoDuke.com)

Coach K (GoDuke.com)

The Cameron Crazies will be raring to go and ready to seek refuge from their Kville tents, where they’ve been spending weeks hunkered down in the cold for a chance to witness their red hot Devils down the reeling Tar Heels.

Mid-February is not a good time for UNC head coach Roy Williams to be searching for answers. But that’s exactly where the Hall of Famer finds himself with his squad.

“We did some things and yet, it wasn’t good enough. I think that’s part of the learning process too. We’ve probably shown this team more clips from games than we have any from the last three or four years at least. I think it’s still a part of the learning process with this group,” Coach Williams says.

JP Tokoto defends Duke's Quinn Cook (UNC Athletics)

JP Tokoto defends Duke’s Quinn Cook (UNC Athletics)

UNC junior forward Brice Johnson, who’s been coming off the bench lately, has been struggling to establish the consistency he envisioned for himself in 2015, but there’s no game he’d rather find his form than against Duke.

“I did watch it as a kid growing up. I was a Carolina fan growing up. I did watch quite a bit of the games. The one that really stuck out was the time Tyler [Hansbrough] got elbowed in the face here. That kind of set the tone that this game is really serious. I have to be ready for it. I can’t put it into words. It’s just an honor to be playing in this game,” Johnson says.

UNC junior guard Marcus Paige says a flood of memories comes rushing through his mind when he thinks of what the Carolina-Duke rivalry means to him.

“The one where Marvin Williams got the put back rings in my head. The thing I remember most is always the videos leading up to the game that show the tradition. They show Tyler Hansbrough getting elbowed in the face, [Eric] Montross with the bloody eye, Coach K screaming and the Duke players slapping the floor. Those stick with you,” Paige says.

Paige, though, has struggled to rekindle his fine form from the closing months of his sophomore campaign.

Humble and modest by nature, Paige will likely need to go against his instincts Wednesday night and become a bit selfish. Paige’s significant involvement in the UNC offense will need to be felt early and often for the Tar Heels to stay in the contest against an explosive Blue Devil squad averaging north of 80 points per outing.

Despite the intensity and passion present in the rivalry, Paige says there’s plenty of respect on both sides.

“I think that’s what makes this rivalry so special is the mutual respect. Obviously, I’m not a huge Duke fan. I don’t love them, but I really respect them. I think that’s the common theme in the rivalry. They respect us and we respect them. It’s good for the entire area,” Paige says.

Marcus Paige on the drive (Nick Vitali)

Marcus Paige on the drive (Nick Vitali)

And that level of respect could be in full display in this game. To honor Dean Smith’s passing, there are expected to be hundreds of Duke-colored T-shirts floating around Cameron with the word DEAN replacing the usual DUKE – the ultimate sign of respect from Coach Smith’s fiercest rivals.

“The students at Cameron are off the charts, but I’ve never had anything that they said or did that bothered me. They just cheer like crazy for their team. I’d like to see one of those shirts. I think that says two things – the respect Coach Smith had everywhere and the other thing is that this is a big-time rivalry, but it doesn’t have to be hatred,” Coach Williams says.

But make no mistake, there will be a winner and a loser determined with the eyes of the college basketball world fixed on Durham.

Jahlil Okafor with the slam dunk (SFgate.com)

Jahlil Okafor with the slam dunk (SFgate.com)

Coach Williams knows the daunting task awaiting Carolina. He’s full of praise for Coach K’s offense and especially, the favorite for the No. 1 NBA Draft pick, freshman sensation Jahlil Okafor.

“He’s a load, but he’s very gifted. He’s got great feet, great hands, turns to either shoulder and has touch when he turns. You have to make some allowances for him. Offensively, they have the best balance of any team in college basketball,” Coach Williams says.

Carolina leads the all-time series with Duke, 133-105, but dropped the last meeting, 93-81, on the road.

With emotions sure to be riding high, the team that can best channel those emotions and stay under control in the opening ten minutes of play is always something to watch out for.

In addition, Duke has always been a free-shooting team, possessing the ability to go on quick 9-0 runs, often times stunning its opponents into submission. If, well should we say when this happens Wednesday night, how will UNC respond?

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/underdog-tar-heels-meet-offensively-balanced-blue-devils-cameron/

UNC-Duke: On Point

THE BUILD-UP

January 10, 2015 – Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC–Trailing by one point with just 14 seconds to play in a crucial ACC home game against then fifth-ranked Louisville, North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige darts from the left wing to the top of the three-point line, where he receives a pass from Nate Britt. Center Kennedy Meeks sets a pick on Paige’s man, leaving a huge gap on the left side of the floor for the lefty to attack Cardinals 6’10” forward Chinanu Onuaku. Showing extreme confidence, UNC’s leader drives towards the hoop, cradles the ball, and lets go of a silky, smooth scoop shot high off the glass. It banks in perfectly, creating a deafening roar from the crowd. Louisville’s Terry Rozier takes one final chance at the buzzer, hoping to add to his 25 point tally, but falls short, giving the Tar Heels their signature win of the season to date, 72-71.

Marcus Paige has experience against the Blue Devils, including a win last year. (Photo Courtesy ESPN)

Marcus Paige has experience against the Blue Devils, including a win last year. (Photo Courtesy ESPN)

January 31, 2015 – John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA—Facing intense scrutiny after the first player dismissal (Rasheed Sulaimon) in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 35 year tenure at Duke, the Blue Devils trail the second-ranked, undefeated Virginia Cavaliers by eight points  on the road, with only a shade under five minutes on the clock. Things appear bleak for the boys from Durham, as they’ll surely pick up their second consecutive loss, but wait, not so fast! BANG, BANG, BANG! The Blue Devils nail a trio of three-pointers (and a layup from Justise Winslow that ties the affair), with the third long ball, coming from senior Quinn Cook, giving Duke a three point lead as time dwindles away. Holding that same lead with 17 seconds to play, but only nine on the shot clock (Virginia guaranteed a shot at a rebound, and the ball back), freshman point guard Tyus Jones, with ice in his veins, dribbles to the right wing, hesitates, and fires a three right in the face of Cavalier guard London Perrantes. Swish. Dagger. Blue Devils win 69-63 (and they haven’t lost since.)

THINGS YOU SHOULD (ALREADY) KNOW

The greatest rivalry in all of sports will resume on Wednesday night at (arguably) the greatest venue in all of sports (Cameron Indoor Stadium) as Duke and UNC will face-off for the 239th time.

Tyus Jones talks with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, a former point guard himself. (The Herald-Sun)

Tyus Jones talks with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, a former point guard himself. (The Herald-Sun)

Each school boasts a basketball program among the most prestigious and successful of all time, and a legendary coach with “larger than life” status (the late, great Dean Smith and his royal blue counterpart, Coach K.)

There’s also their combined 10 NCAA Championships, 33 Final Fours, and 19 National Players of the Year.

College legends like Christian Laettner and Tyler Hansbrough have patrolled the paint in this game. And throughout this week, plenty of hype will focus on the battle down low, with Duke’s likely top NBA draft pick, freshman center Jahlil Okafor (18 PPG, 9 RPG) squaring off with the Tar Heels’ formidable frontline of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks (combined 25 PPG, 16 RPG).

KEY TO THE GAME

With all due respect to the great big men that will play in, and have played in this game, it’s the little guys, the point guards, who often define what happens on the court between these two great rivals. Somebody has to pass the ball to those big fellas right?

This year’s edition will feature the experienced preseason All-American, Paige, against the five-star freshman, Jones, who plays well beyond his years.

Both are big-time players that step up in big-time moments, as evidenced in recent performances against Louisville and Virginia.

Both can pass the ball and set up teammates just as well as they can shoot and score. Paige puts up 14 points and four assists per game, while shooting 38% from distance and 82% from the foul line. Jones pours in 11 points and dishes five assists a night, drilling 40% of his threes and making 87% at the charity stripe.

Both wear number five. You get the point.

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

In the past, it’s been matchups like Chris Duhon and Raymond Felton, back in 2004, that have determined the outcome. Duhon’s late reverse lay-up in overtime sealed a win for Duke at the Dean Dome, and his exceptional defense on Felton, then a sophomore and the ACC leader in assists, in both games led to a clean 2-0 sweep of the games that year for the Blue Devils.

Chris Duhon's "signature" moment at Duke. (GoDuke.com)

Chris Duhon’s “signature” moment at Duke. (GoDuke.com)

On the flip-side, point guard mismatches such as Carolina’s bolt of lightning, Ty Lawson (one of the fastest players to ever set foot in Chapel Hill) asserting his will over Duke’s not very quick (to be nice) Greg Paulus from 2007-2009 without much resistance, have also drawn the line between winner and loser. Lawson consistently left his mark on those contests, and not surprisingly the Tar Heels won every game he played in against Duke. The only time a Paulus-led team beat Lawson’s Heels was in February of ’08 at UNC, when Lawson sat out with an ankle injury. Paulus drained six three-pointers that night.

Ty Lawson always enjoyed playing Greg Paulus. (Photo Courtesy Zimbio.com)

Ty Lawson always enjoyed playing Greg Paulus. (Photo Courtesy Zimbio.com)

Eventually, you find that the names of great floor generals who played in this game become too many to list them all.

Jason Williams. Phil Ford. Bobby Hurley. Ed Cota. Tommy Amaker. Kendall Marshall.

It goes on and on and on.

“BOLD” PREDICTIONS

Wednesday night, Marcus Paige and Tyus Jones will not only continue the best rivalry in all of sports (and no, that’s not arguable), they will each add their own chapter to a rich history of point guards that goes back multiple generations.

And if, in that electric environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium, the score is tied, and the clock is ticking, there’s a good bet the ball will find the hands of number five.

 

 

 

E-mail Avery at atrendel@wchl.com or follow on Twitter: @averytrendel

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-duke-point/

Cameron Crazies Camp-Out at K-ville

Some students will wait hours in line to see a Carolina-Duke basketball game. And others spend weeks camping in a tent.

Krzyzewskiville hosts some of the craziest college basketball fans out there, the Cameron Crazies.

Since 1986, Duke students have pitched tents outside Cameron Indoor Stadium months before the game.

Senior Anand Raghuraman wasn’t always a Blue Devils fan, but the Seattle native was quickly drawn into the UNC-Duke rivalry.

“There’s so much history to it and you look at all these pump-up, hype-up videos and the crowds just jumping around and people making last minute, game-winning shots,” Raghuraman says.

Kville has hosted tenting ticket hopefuls for nearly 30 years (Duke Chronicle)

Kville has hosted tenting ticket hopefuls for nearly 30 years (Duke Chronicle)

Raghuraman has tented for three of the four years he’s been a student at Duke. And it’s not until temperatures dive below 25 degrees that the Cameron Crazies are permitted to leave their tents.

“When it’s hovered around 26 or 25… that’s really miserable. You’re just kind of looking at your iPhone and thinking… Oh man… please for the love of God… go below 25. And sometimes it doesn’t and it sucks,” Raghuraman says.

The freezing cold isn’t the only element the Cameron Crazies have to deal with, and sometimes it takes more than just blankets and sleeping bags to protect them from the weather.

“This one day there was a huge wind storm and basically the tent felt like it was going to fall over. And so, we’re all in there and we’re all laughing at the fact that if this thing, we have also this battery in there, and so if the tent catches fire or somehow the battery explodes, we’re all going to die and that would be the saddest thing ever,” Raghuraman says.

The Seattle native wasn’t always a Blue Devils basketball fanatic, so what does his family think about all this?

“My mom tells me everyday… like… what are you doing? I’ve Skyped her a couple times in the tent and she immediately just clicks the off button. She just doesn’t even want to see me in there,” Raghuraman says.

Duke faces off against Carolina Wednesday night and leading up to that game, per tradition, one hundred tents will be lined up outside Cameron Stadium in hopes of punching a ticket to the game.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/cameron-crazies-camp-k-ville/

Reeling Tar Heels Usher In Duke Week Licking Wounds

One of the most storied and intense rivalries in all of sports will be renewed Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. We’re just two days away from the 239th installment of Carolina-Duke and this season, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils are trending in different directions.

***Listen to the story***

“There was a lot different said in the Louisville game than there was in this game. It was a lot different in the Virginia game and Boston College game. It’s not necessarily one theme that keeps recurring, so I don’t know,” UNC junior guard Marcus Paige says.

Coach Williams addresses Paige (Todd Melet)

Coach Williams addresses Paige (Todd Melet)

Paige’s reeling Tar Heels are searching for answers. And that’s bad timing with a pretty big game looming large midweek.

Carolina has now lost three of its last four. But at least in the latest setback at Pittsburgh, some consolation could be found in the lights-out shooting, 65 percent to be exact, by the opponent.

“They were so much more aggressive than us early and more positive. I think we had it tied a couple times, and then they went on a tremendous run again. Early in the second half, I thought it was still any man’s ballgame, and they made their first seven shots,” Coach Williams says. “Am I disappointed and upset? In several ways, yes. But I think you have to also understand Pittsburgh had a lot to do with the outcome of the game,”

Duke and Carolina battled it out for the first time on Jan. 24, 1920. The two hated rivals have met at least twice a year since then.

Many of those encounters have gone on to decide the eventual ACC champion.

Since the ACC’s founding in 1953, Duke and Carolina have combined to win or share 48 ACC regular season titles, that’s 78.7 percent of the total, and 36 tournament titles, 59 percent of the total, including 14 of the last 18.

The Cameron Crazies love their Coach (Duke Photography)

The Cameron Crazies love their Coach (Duke Photography)

But this year, both schools are playing the role of chasers in the conference standings, looking up at one-loss Virginia. But for surging Duke, that gap is closing. Carolina, meanwhile, appears to be fading back into the pack.

A frustrated Coach Williams says his Tar Heels were simply overwhelmed by the super sharp Panthers Saturday afternoon.

As for his counterpart wearing a tie with a darker shade of blue, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was a lot happier following his team’s win at the sold-out Carrier Dome.

“Our free throw shooting down at the end was just about perfect. Guys made big plays. I’m really pleased with the win. We beat a really good team – great crowd, great environment. I feel very fortunate we won,” Coach Krzyzewski says.

With a 22-3 record and a top five national ranking, Coach K certainly has plenty to be happy about it, but it’s likely his freshman sensation, Jahlil Okafor, who puts the biggest smile on the Hall of Famer’s face.

Widely projected to be the No. 1 draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Okafor says he credits his teammates for setting him up in the paint, a place the sturdy freshman feels right at home.

“Throughout the whole second half my teammates kept finding me for easy buckets. They were giving me all the confidence in the world – a lot of credit to my teammates. They just kept finding me for easy baskets,” Okafor says.

The UNC defense will need to step up Wednesday night (Nick Vitali)

The UNC defense will need to step up Wednesday night (Nick Vitali)

Pitt, meanwhile, poured in buckets from everywhere over the weekend, but some of that had to do with UNC’s poor defense.

With Duke next on tap, always one of the best shooting teams in the nation, Coach Williams knows his players will need tighten up defensively and get more hands in the faces of long-range shooters.

“What you can do is guard them better. I really believe the better you guard them, the less likely they’ll shoot 65 percent for the game,” Coach Williams says.

Carolina enters this year’s Battle of the Blues as a clear underdog, but that might be an advantageous position for the Tar Heels. An old cliché often rings true – in rivalry games, you can throw out the rankings and the stat sheets.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/reeling-tar-heels-usher-duke-week-licking-wounds/

UNC Closes Rivalry Week with Sunday Duke Matchup

The No. 12 North Carolina women’s basketball team faces its top rival, No. 15 Duke, in Carmichael Arena Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m.

In facing another in-state rival, N.C. State, UNC is coming off of a nail-biting 67-63 win Thursday in Raleigh. Senior guard Danielle Butts led Carolina in scoring for the first time in her career with 12 points, and fellow senior Latifah Coleman added a career-high seven rebounds.

Down Tobacco Road, Duke suffered a road loss to Boston College Thursday night, which made for their fifth straight road loss this season. They will be looking to snap that streak with Duke’s high scoring duo in Elizabeth Williams and Azura Stevens, who average a combined 43.5 points, 18 rebounds, eight assists, six blocks and five steals per game.

But Carolina has a notable duo of its own. Sophomores Allisha Gray and Stephanie Mavunga make up two of the ACC’s leading scorers to go along with the shot-blocking accolades for Mavunga. Both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils have an ACC record of 4-2.

You can watch the rivalry game on ESPN2 or listen live on 97.9 FM.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-stretches-rivalry-week-duke-sunday/

Tar Heels Reclaim Victory Bell, Down Duke

The North Carolina football team dashed out to a commanding 28-7 halftime lead and went on to beat rival Duke 45-20 Thursday night at Wallace Wade Stadium to improve to 6-5 on the season and in the process, gain bowl eligibility.

***Listen to the story***

With the loss, the Blue Devils dropped to 8-3 on the season and handed the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets the ACC Coastal division crown and a spot in the ACC Championship game opposite Florida State.

Marquise Williams threw for 374 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the Tar Heel offense to a torrid start, and despite a few hiccups in the second quarter that could have broken the game open further, turned in an impressive performance that the careless Blue Devils were unable to match.

Williams back for the snap (Elliott Rubin)

Williams back for the snap (Elliott Rubin)

In an encouraging sign, for the first time this season, the Tar Heels had a running back eclipse the 100-yard mark in a game. It was T.J. Logan who earned the distinction with 117 yards and a touchdown.

“I think we finally put together a complete game in all three phases – offensively, defensively and special teams. Other than the three turnovers we had offensively, it couldn’t have been a more solid game for us,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora says.

In a surprising twist, the much-maligned Tar Heel defense rose to the occasion, coming up with big stops after the offensive miscues in the second quarter that gave Duke a chance to hang around in the game.

“It was huge. For the defense to go out there in those situations and hold them to no points after those three fumbles, that was big. And that gave a shot of adrenaline to the entire team,” Coach Fedora says.

Duke’s signal caller Anthony Boone tossed two touchdowns and threw for 262 yards, but he was sacked three times and gave away an interception.

“I don’t know if there are words that fit how you feel. I told the team after the game, I said ‘First thing I don’t want you to forget is all this winning that has led us to a Thursday night opportunity on national television playing your arch rival. Obviously it was a disaster from our standpoint,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe says.

***Listen to Larry Fedora’s postgame remarks***

On Duke’s first drive, UNC linebacker Jeff Schoettmer recovered a fumble. It got the Tar Heels rolling.

From there, the offense raced ahead. A 3-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Switzer got UNC on the scoreboard first, and then the defense pitched in again with a 10-yard fumble return for a touchdown by senior safety Tim Scott.

At the end of the first quarter, the Tar Heels had claimed a 21-7 lead over the Blue Devils. Duke got on the board with a 10-yard touchdown heave by Boone into the arms of Isaac Blakeney.

The Victory Bell (UNC Athletics)

The Victory Bell (UNC Athletics)

But that was the home team’s only score of the half to the dismay of the crowd. As for UNC, it added seven more points to its ledger thanks to a 1-yard Williams keeper into the end zone with 13:02 on the second quarter clock.

On the critical second half opening drive, the Blue Devils turned the ball over when Boone tossed an interception to MJ Stewart.

The Tar Heels took advantage immediately with an impressive offensive possession that ended with a one-yard touchdown by TJ Logan with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter.

Everything was going right for the Tar Heels. A season-long 30-yard field goal make by Thomas Moore to push the lead up to 38-7 with 6:23 in the third quarter, confirmed that. It was that kind of night.

UNC coasted from there, gliding to the rivalry win that earned  them back the coveted Victory Bell after a two-year hiatus.

Next up for the Tar Heels comes a season-ending in-state matchup with the N.C. State Wolfpack next Saturday in Chapel Hill.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-reclaim-victory-bell-duke/

Tar Heels, Blue Devils Battle For The Bell

The North Carolina football team, 5-5 on the season, meets 8-2 rival Duke Thursday night in front of a nationally-televised audience at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Battle for the Bell kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

***Listen to the story***

With the short week, UNC head coach Larry Fedora says the Tar Heels have had to adjust everything about their preparation.

“It’s not normal. The whole week is different for you. The players have to do a great job of staying in the moment and make sure they have adjusted their minds to what day of practice it is. It’s a different situation for them,” Coach Fedora says.

Coach Fedora consoles the Pitt head coach last weekend (Elliott Rubin)

Coach Fedora consoles the Pitt head coach last weekend (Elliott Rubin)

Duke is coming off a disappointing 17-16 home loss to Coastal division foe Virginia Tech, but still controls its own destiny in the race to the ACC Championship game in Charlotte.

The hungry Tar Heels, coming off a 40-35 victory  over Pittsburgh, would like nothing more than to knock their bitter rivals off their desired path to the Queen City.

But UNC junior linebacker Shakeel Rashad says the Tar Heels will be up against it with the efficient Duke attack bolstered by a rock-solid offensive line.

“They’re very efficient. They don’t really make mistakes. Their offensive line really works well together. They’ve got some great players at quarterback and receiver. They’re spread out all over the field, and they’ve got a lot of people who can make big plays on the offensive line that allows them to do it,” Rashad says.

Coach Fedora says it’s Duke’s speedy wide receiver Jamison Crowder that gives him the most cause for concern.

Crowder has 5,197 career all-purpose yards and recently became only the 11th player in ACC football history to reach the 5,000 yard plateau.

“That guy [Crowder] can do it all. He’s got great speed and catches the ball really well. They use him in the return game, too. He’s a special player. Watching him for three years, he’s a dang-good player,” Coach Fedora says.

Jamison Crowder hits his stride (GoDuke.com)

Jamison Crowder hits his stride (GoDuke.com)

Blue Devil head coach David Cucliffe says preparing for Coach Fedora’s up-tempo and high-powered offense in just a few days has been a stern challenge.

“I have the upmost respect for what they [UNC] do. They do it extremely well. Coach Fedora is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game. I’ve followed his career all the way back, whether it was Florida, Middle Tennessee or Oklahoma State. He’s been on the cutting edge. They present a lot of problems. There’s no question they’re difficult to get ready for in just a few days,” Coach Cutcliffe says.

There will be an intriguing position battle in the contest with dynamic signal caller Marquise Williams going up against the much-improved Duke quarterback Anthony Boone.

Boone had a rough outing against the Hokies last weekend, but says he’s confident his team will take better care of the football against the Tar Heels.

“It’s not really a huge concern. We’ve had pretty good success as far as not turning the ball over and creating explosive plays. We’ve just got to go out there and be who we are and not try to speed it up too much or worry about what they’re doing. We’ve just got to go out there and execute our offense,” Boone says.

UNC’s Rashad says not having the Victory Bell out at practice the past couple seasons has been painful and has only fueled his teammates’ ambitions to reclaim the prize.

Marquise Williams escapes a defender (Elliott Rubin)

Marquise Williams escapes a defender (Elliott Rubin)

“It’s something that’s really important around here. This game means a lot to a lot of people. It means a lot to us. I remember my freshman year; we had the Bell out here at practice that week. So not seeing it out here the last couple years, you’re reminded of it,” Rashad says.

On the gridiron, UNC holds a 58-38-4 advantage in the all-time head-to-head series between the two schools.

The 101st meeting promises to be a compelling one, but the underdog Tar Heels will certainly need to put together a complete four quarters of clean, disciplined football to recapture the Victory Bell in enemy territory Thursday night.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-blue-devils-battle-bell/

UNC Snags 3-0 Victory Over Duke, Earns Final Four Spot

UNC celebrates the 3-0 victory over the Duke. (Daily Tar Heel)

UNC celebrates 3-0 victory over Duke. (Courtesy of the Daily Tar Heel)

The top-ranked UNC field hockey team shut out No. 9 Duke 3-0 Sunday in Chapel Hill to earn a spot in the Final Four.

The Blue Devil loss ends their season with a 13-7 record. The Tar Heels improve to 19-3 overall and extend their season another game.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be going to the Final Four,” UNC coach Karen Shelton says. “I want to congratulate Duke on a great season. They are an outstanding team and I think you could see the intensity level of the game.”

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(Photo courtesy of the Daily Tar Heel)

Senior Loren Shealy scored the first goal of the game on a penalty corner in the 32nd minute of play.

Junior Emma Bozek led the Tar Heels in scoring and scored her first goal in the 57th minute. Bozek’s second goal came in the 67th minute assisted by junior Emily Wold and brought UNC to their 3-0 lead over Duke.

“They’ve been setting me up for every single goal I’ve had this season and it’s all just come together really nice,” Bozek says. “I think my two goals today were because of some amazing passing combinations further down the field. It’s really nice to see that everyone’s really working hard and working together.”

Bozek’s second goal marked her team-high 15th goal of the season, more than her two previous years combined.

“I think they brought out the best in us today,” Shelton says. “I’m really proud of our Tar Heels. I thought it was a balanced team effort and led primarily by our seniors.”

UNC Field Hockey celebrate

For five of the women on the UNC field hokey team, Sunday marked the last home game of their college careers.

“To end my career at home against Duke, it’s arguably one of the greatest rivalry in all the sports and it’s just an amazing feeling. I really can’t describe it,” Shealy says. “You kind of dream about one of these games going into the Final Four.”

Top-ranked UNC will face No. 4 Syracuse Friday in an NCAA Tournament semifinal game in College Park, Md.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-shutouts-duke-earns-spot-final-four/

UNC Men’s Basketball Schedule Released

The UNC men’s basketball team eases into its 2014-15 campaign, but the newly released schedule is highlighted by some high-level opponents.

View the Schedule

The new 15-member Atlantic Coast Conference is stacked with talent bringing Louisville to the mix this year after Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame joined last year. The Tar Heels face the Cardinals in a home-and-home conference series this season; Carolina faces Syracuse and Notre Dame in the Smith Center and will travel to Pittsburgh.

Only one of the UNC-Duke matchups is scheduled to be carried on both ESPN and the ACC Network this year. The rivalry is the only contest carried by two networks. The ACC Network could very well still pick up the season finale in Chapel Hill on March 7.

Out of conference, the Tar Heels travel to Lexington, Kentucky to face the Wildcats in mid-December. Last year, Kentucky traveled to Chapel Hill where Carolina handed out the 82-77 defeat of Wildcats.

McAdoo Emerges as ‘Giant Killer’ Carolina Edges Kentucky 82-77

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, UNC travels to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis. Carolina opens the tournament on Paradise Island against Butler and will face two other opponents out of the group of Oklahoma, UCLA, UAB, Florida, Georgetown, or Wisconsin.

Those dying to get to basketball season, you’ll be happy. Late Night with Roy comes three weeks earlier this year. The unofficial season tipoff is October 3.

Tar Heel Take: Late Night with Roy

The ACC officially announced the 2014-15 schedules Wednesday.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-mens-basketball-schedule-released/