***Listen to the story***
With the victory, Duke improved to 24-7 overall and 13-5 in conference action. The Blue Devils also finished off a perfect season at home.
Freshman sensation Jabari Parker scored 30 points, the most by any Duke freshman against Carolina.
“I thought it was a tough night for us. I think listening to Mike’s (Coach K) comments after the last game, they didn’t have “it”. I agree with him. It’s hard to say what “it” is, but whatever the hell it is, Jabari found it,” UNC Head Coach Roy Williams says.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***
Carolina’s Marcus Paige led the way for the Tar Heels with 24 points while Brice Johnson posted 15 of his own.
James Michael McAdoo got into severe foul trouble, picking up his fourth foul just one minute into the second half. His loss hampered the Tar Heels, but they managed to shoot 59.6 percent from the floor, the best all season.
The game was tight at the half, 40-37 in favor of Duke, thanks to some gritty play by the Tar Heels and poor shooting from behind the arc by the Blue Devils, going 2-13.
The second half, though, was a different story. Duke knocked down 6-10 three-pointers to pull away from Carolina and then hold on down the stretch with impressive foul shooting. Duke converted on 87.1 percent of its free throws.
After the game, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski credited his team’s rebounding advantage as a key to the victory. The Blue Devils outrebounded the Tar Heels 34-20.
***Listen to Coach K’s postgame remarks***
Duke drew first blood with a score by Rodney Hood and Andrew Dawkins was next to score for the Blue Devils to give the home team the 4-0 lead.
McAdoo put the first points on the board for Carolina with a physical play inside. But Duke answered immediately to take the 7-2 lead with 17:30 to play in the half.
Tokoto knocked down a smooth jumper to close the gap down to three points. Dawkins sunk one on the other end and drew the foul, making the point after to give Duke the 10-4 lead.
With 15:43 to play in the half, the Blue Devils held the 10-4 advantage. Turnovers were traded back and forth, until Duke broke the run with an inside score to take the 12-4 lead.
Brice Johnson cleaned up a rebound and tossed it in for a score to end a long drought for the Tar Heels. The defensive intensity by Duke was making life difficult for Carolina. Head Coach Roy Williams called a timeout.
A Johnson dunk briefly silenced the crowd. With 11:12 to play in the half, Duke had a 19-10 lead against UNC.
McAdoo knocked down a couple important free throws, but Carolina was finding it tough to stop the Blue Devil offensive attach. McAdoo nailed down a jumper as the shot clock was running out to close UNC within four.
McAdoo worked his way to the free throw line by pressing the issue in the paint. He knocked down both foul shots. Carolina trailed Duke 29-25 with 5:13 to go before halftime.
Carolina got some help from Paige and Johnson down the stretch as the halftime scoreboard read 40-37 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Duke only managed to shoot at a 15.4 percent clip from behind the arc while UNC shot 61.9 percent from the floor.
James Michael McAdoo recorded 11 points, but collected three fouls in the first half. Duke’s Jabari Parker tallied a team-leading 16 points.
Parker opened the second half with a make to ignite the Cameron crowd. And a sloppy turnover by UNC’s Johnson followed.
McAdoo picked up his fourth foul just one minute into the second half and promptly took a seat on the bench. Hood darted to the basket, making the shot and converting on the point after for a three-point play. The Blue Devils held a 47-39 lead with 17:08 to play.
Kennedy Meeks went up soft inside and failed to get the basket to go, handing the ball back to Duke. With 16:26 to play, the Blue Devils held a 50-39 lead before McDonald popped a jumper through the nets to reduce the deficit back down to single digits.
Nate Britt hit a mid-range shot to keep UNC within shouting distance at 55-44 with 14:51 to play in the contest.
Cook’s run-out score pushed the Blue Devil lead out to 59-44 with 14:22 to play.
McDonald knocked down a three-pointer to close the Duke lead down to 13 points with 13:07 remaining. And Paige followed that score up with a determined make and Duke called a timeout up 62-51 with 12:44 to play.
Rodney Hood hit a wide-open three-pointer for Duke as the Carolina defense failed to contest the shot.
Joel James threw the ball away for an easy Duke score in transition. The game was quickly getting away from the Tar Heels.
Parker hit a jumper that slid through the nets off the rim to give Duke the 71-53 lead with 9:36 left to play.
Parker sniped another shot from behind the arc to push the Blue Devil lead out to 74-55 with 8 minutes remaining.
With 5:55 remaining in the game, Carolina trailed Duke 77-61. McAdoo responded with a quick score off the backboard.
Tokoto found an open lane and scored driving to the basket to cut the deficit down to 12 points with 3:55 on the clock.
Carolina cut the Duke lead down to ten points off a Johnson make inside. Britt committed a costly foul after the shot clock was drained all the way down. Duke’s Cook made both of them.
Paige converted on a three-point play to cut the Duke lead down to 81-73 with 2:41 to play.
The Carolina defense stiffened, causing a Duke turnover, but Paige’s shot fell short for the Tar Heels. Cook was fouled on the other end and knocked down both free throws to extend the lead back out to ten.
Parker battled his way to line, converting on both foul shots to give the Blue Devils full command of the contest yet again at 86-73 with 1:51 to play.
Paige fought admirably down the stretch, but the deficit was too much for the Tar Heels to overcome.
Next up for the Tar Heels is the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro Friday. Carolina will be the fourth seed.
The No. 14 North Carolina men’s basketball team, 23-7 on the season and 13-4 in ACC play, will take on No. 4 Duke, 23-7 overall and 12-5 in conference, Saturday night at 9 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and as usual in this Tobacco Road Rivalry, there’s a lot on the line.
***Listen to the story***
Ahead of the Duke showdown, Head Coach Roy Williams says he’s seen some mental and emotional fatigue out of his team lately, but the coaching staff is encouraging the players to get excited for postseason play.
“I think mentally you just, ‘Gosh, you have to take a deep breath.’ You realize now is when we really get to start having some fun. So we try to talk about that a little bit, but they’ve got to handle it,” Coach Williams says.
Coach Williams says more than any other team they face, the Tar Heels have to make guarding the three-point shot a priority against Duke, an historically elite perimeter shooting program.
“They shoot so many and have been so successful – just look at their percentages. We pay more attention to that and try to emphasize it. You hope that when they miss that you can get something going on the offensive end and capitalize on that,” Coach Williams says.
When asked the best way to go about defending Duke’s Jabari Parker, a hot favorite for national rookie of the year, Coach Williams implied it was a nearly impossible task.
“You hope he sprains his ankle going up the steps. That’s the best way. I don’t mean that in any derogatory way, but that’s one way to guard him if he’s sitting over on the bench. He’s got the complete game,” Coach Williams says.
All jokes aside, it was Carolina’s defensive intensity that made the difference in the second half against Duke in the Tar Heels’ 74-66 home win on Feb. 20.
Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige says Carolina will need to reach their maximum potential Saturday night and play a complete 40 minutes of high-level basketball.
“We might have a little bit more of a margin of error than maybe earlier in the season. But at this time of the year against a team like Duke in Cameron, the margin of error is not very big. We understand if we play the way we have the past couple games, that’s not going to get it done,” Paige says.
This year’s Tar Heel squad seemingly relishes the big-time games against elite national programs. Carolina’s game has shown brightest in the crucible of the national spotlight.
Senior Leslie McDonald says the toughness and cohesiveness of the team is put on display in the biggest games.
“We just have a mindset. If it’s a big-time team, we just come together closer. We have a mindset that we’re not going to back down. We’re going to give it our best shot and see if we can come out with the victory,” McDonald says.
With a victory Saturday, Carolina would assure itself of a three seed in next week’s ACC Tournament. A win coupled with a Syracuse loss in Tallahassee would mean UNC would snag the No. 2 seed next week. Few would have thought these scenarios possible just a few short weeks ago.
Carolina leads the all-time series with Duke 133-104 and is looking to complete a season sweep of the Blue Devils. That will be no easy task. Duke hasn’t lost back-to-back regular season games since Feb. 2009 and is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-duke-round-two-cameron-indoor/
The No. 14 Carolina men’s basketball team takes on No. 4 Duke Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels defended their home court against the Blue Devils earlier this season, but a season sweep would be even sweeter.
***Listen to the story***
Carolina point guard Marcus Paige speaks on the need for the Tar Heels to regain Coach Williams’ famous “sense of urgency” as the Duke game and postseason play draws near.
“It meant more to them [Notre Dame] for the majority of the game. That can’t happen, especially because we’re a team close to the top of the ACC fighting for a third seed and a high seed in the Tournament. We can’t have that kind of effort,” Paige says.
Paige says Carolina’s level of play has dropped off a bit in the last couple games despite the victories. He says if the Tar Heels want to accomplish their big goals, they need to ratchet back up the intensity.
“That’s three or four in a row against teams we are capable of beating by a better margin than we have. That’s no knock on them, but we’ve been playing really well lately. If we have big goals and dreams, we can’t have all these sluggish games,” Paige says.
Despite Duke’s shocking loss to lowly WakeForest in Joel Coliseum Wednesday night, Carolina can expect the Blue Devils’ best to come out at Cameron Indoor Saturday night in primetime. After all, Duke is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.
With that being said, junior James Michael McAdoo says he doesn’t feel like he needs to go out there and “be Superman”. He says Carolina’s 12-game winning streak has given all the Tar Heels more confidence, loosening his scoring burden.
“I feel like all these last games have been important to us, especially starting the way we did in conference play. We realize the importance every time we step out there […I think the biggest thing for me personally is going out there, playing in my game and not trying to be Superman,” McAdoo says.
Senior Leslie McDonald says this lull in game activity after the Notre Dame win Monday comes at just the right time for the Tar Heels. He says it helps some banged up players recover and be primed for the Duke showdown.
“We’re going to be able to rest our bodies a little bit, go back to practice, evaluate ourselves and have hard practices to prepare us for Duke. I think it’s a wonderful time,” McDonald says.
With a win on Saturday, Carolina would claim not only a season sweep of their bitter rivals, but also claim a top three seeding in the ACC Tournament next week.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolinas-paige-mcadoo-paige-reloading-duke-finale-postseson/
The No. 14 North Carolina women’s basketball team slid by No. 7 Duke 64-60 Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena, earning the season sweep of the Blue Devils to improve to 22-8 overall and 10-6 in conference play.
***Listen to the story***
With the loss, the Blue Devils dropped to 25-5 on the season and 12-4 in the ACC. Sunday marked the first time Duke was swept by UNC since the 2007-08 season.
“For Duke, I want to wish them the best of luck. I know they’re down a couple players, but they’re still very talented and very well coached. They’ll find a way. They’re champions and that’s why they fought back today. [...] As far as the Tar Heels, I thought we played very hard. I thought we did a lot of good things. We didn’t make some shots I thought we should have made, but it was one of our best games this year and really proud of the players,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
***Listen to Coach Calder and player postgame remarks***
With Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell looking on from the stands, the Tar Heels played to a quick tempo that the Blue Devils struggled to keep up with for much of the contest.
Allisha Gray came out of the locker rooms a new person in the second half, knocking down three quick three-pointers to give Carolina the commanding 47-31 lead, going on a 14-0 run.
But the Blue Devils went on a 16-0 run of their own to cut the deficit down to three points at 50-47 with 6:35 to play in the game. The momentum had swung completely in Duke’s favor.
But determined makes by Stephanie Mavunga in the paint staved off the Blue Devil attack and allowed the Tar Heels to put away the game down the stretch. One of the key factors to deciding the game was rebounding. The Tar Heels were crucially able to outrebound a much taller Blue Devil squad 35-33.
Diamond DeShields led the Tar Heels with 18 points while Mavunga and Gray added 12 points apiece. With her scoring Sunday, DeShields became the first UNC freshman to score 500 points in a season.
Duke’s Tricia Liston posted a team-leading 19 points while Elizabeth Williams put up 12 points of her own, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a series sweep for Carolina.
Before the game, Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell told ESPN she would be ready to get back out on the court as soon as she gets done with her final round of treatments this week. That leaves open the possibility of a return for the NCAA Tournament.
Duke won the opening tipoff an Tricia Liston made a long range three-pointer to raw first blood on the first possession of the game.
Elizabeth Williams scored inside following an unsuccessful Carolina possession to give the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead with 18:08 to play in the half.
Haley Peters knocked down a jumper to extend the lead out to 7-0 for Duke, but DeShields swished a three-point shot to get the Tar Heels on the board.
Williams found some space around the basket and banked the ball in to give the Blue Devils the 11-3 advantage with 15:41 to play.
Stephanie Mavunga got one to go to close the gap down to eight points at 13-5. The Latifah Coleman nailed a three-pointer to ignite crowd. With 14:20 to play in the half, Carolina was trailing 13-8.
Liston ran the floor for an easy score off a Carolina turnover. The lead was back out to 17-10 for the Blue Devils with 12:38 on the first half clock.
DeShields broke away next for a layup basket. An official timeout with 11:37 to go in the half had Duke leading 17-12.
Jessica Washington knocked down an uncontested shot from behind the arc and a breakaway score by Butts reduced the deficit down to just two points at 19-17.
Mavunga was becoming more and more active in the paint, forcing the ball through the nets. The score was 22-19 in favor of Duke with 8:11 to play in the half.
Xylina McDaniel calmly tied the game with a shot outside that knotted the score at 22-22. McDaniel scored again inside to give Carolina its first lead of the contest at 24-22 with 6:08 to play in the opening half.
DeShields was fouled on a shot and connected on both of her free throws to stake the Tar Heels out to a 26-22 lead with 4:58 remaining before halftime.
Washington got the line next, knocking down both free throws to extend the UNC advantage out to 28-22. Duke scored quickly on the other end, but Mavunga responded with a make inside.
After a three-pointer by Peters, Duke had closed the margin down to just one point. The Tar Heels had the 30-29 lead with 2:30 left in the half.
McDaniel made a nice move and reverse to get a clutch shot to fall, giving UNC the 32-31 edge with 59 seconds to go before halftime.
DeShields scored a high-flying layup on the run to push the Tar Heels ahead 34-31, and at the half, it was Carolina with the 36-31 advantage.
Gray knocked down a three-pointer to start the proceedings in the second half. UNC had the 39-31 lead with 19:20 left in the game. Gray responded again with a long-range jumper from the perimeter to give Carolina the 42-31 advantage with 18:40 to play.
Gray just could not be stopped as she knocked down shot after shot to create an explosion in Carmichael Arena. She hit another long-range shot to give Carolina the 47-31 lead with 16:59 to play.
Peters battled her way to the foul line at the 12:38 mark, making both attempts to rally Duke back to within 13 points at 50-37. The Blue Devils were on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit down to nine points at 50-41 with 9:33 to play in the game.
It was a five point game after another Duke score inside. Carolina couldn’t come up with any rebounds as Duke began to gobble up the board. The score was 50-47 with 7:16 to play in the game.
Washington broke the Duke momentum swing with a run-out score that placed the score at 52-49 with under six minutes to go.
McDaniel got herself to the line and knocked down one free throw. But the shots were not falling from the field for Carolina as the clock was winding down.
Ka’ lia Johnson scored and got the foul, making the point after to close within one at 53-52 with 3:57 to play.
Mavunga responded with an inside score for the Tar Heels and with 3:31 to play, UNC had the 55-52 edge. Gray remerged with a three-point conversion that got the crowd roaring and gave Carolina the 60-52 with 1:58 to play.
DeShields drained a clutch jumper as the shot clock was expiring to give UNC the comfortable 62-53 lead they needed to hold on to the victory.
Next up for the Tar Heels is the ACC Tournament in Greensboro later this week. UNC will play Thursday at 8 p.m. against the winner of the Wake-Forest-Pittsburgh game.
Click here for the game photo gallery.
The No. 14 North Carolina women’s basketball team, 21-8 on the season and 9-6 in conference play, closes out its regular season Sunday with a 1 p.m. tip on ESPN against top rival No. 7 Duke, 25-4 overall and 12-3 in the ACC.
A win on Sunday would earn Carolina its first season sweep of Duke since the 2007-08 season. In the first meeting, Diamond DeShields dropped 30 points to power the Tar Heels to the 89-78 upset victory at hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Lately, however, the Tar Heels have fallen on hard times, losing their last two games to unranked Virginia Tech and No. 2 Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils rebounded from their own loss to Notre Dame with a comfortable 71-56 win over Wake Forest.
The first 1,000 students in attendance will receive a Carolina blue ‘Keep Calm and Beat Duke’ shirt while the first 250 kids, under 14 years of age, will eat for free at Carmichael Arena.
The bracket pairings for the ACC Tournament will be revealed Sunday evening.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-women-take-center-stage-duke-rematch/
***Listen to the story***
With the loss, the Blue Devils fell to 21-6 on the season and 10-4 in conference action.
“I just love kids that just keep playing, just keep coming at you, just keep coming at you. [...] It’s a fun group. It really is a fun group,” UNC Head Coach Roy Williams said after the come-from-behind win.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame comments***
Carolina seized the early 6-0 lead, taking advantage of a couple Duke turnovers. But the Blue Devils began to seize control of the game midway through the first half with consistent offensive production, taking a 37-30 advantage into the locker room.
Leslie McDonald found his shot. His 11 first half points kept Carolina hanging around in the contest while the rest of the team struggled to find its form. Duke’s Rodney Hood sprinted out of the gates with a hot hand, finishing with 11 points in the opening half.
Despite only hitting 50 percent of their foul shots in the game, the Tar Heels continued to battle on the defensive end, producing key stops to stay in contact midway through the second.
Per usual, Marcus Paige emerged from his slumber in the closing minutes with determined forays to the basket. All in all, Paige finished with 13 points, all in the second half.
Down the stretch, it was Carolina’s intensity and passion that won out. Duke’s players surprisingly appeared shell-shocked as their shooters went cold, only managing to fire at a 35 percent clip in the closing half. That was down from an impressive 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Clutch free throws from Britt and Paige ultimately delivered the victory to the Tar Heels in this 237th meeting of the Tobacco Road Rivalry.
McDonald led the scoring charge for UNC with 21 points while Paige and McAdoo reached double figures, respectively.
For the Blue Devils, it was balanced scoring with Jabari Parker and Tyler Thornton each posting 17 points to lead the team. Hood wasn’t too far behind with his 16-point contribution, but it wasn’t enough to beat Carolina on a night when Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team lacked the “life” it needed to match the Tar Heel intensity.
Carolina won the opening tipoff and McDonald nailed an open three-point jumper right away to grab the 3-0 lead for the Tar Heels.
A travel was called on the Blue Devils the other end, and James Michael McAdoo scored in dominating fashion on the other end to ignite the crowd.
J.P. Tokoto drew a foul on the next Tar Heel possession, making one of the free throws to give UNC the 6-0 lead with 18:36 to play.
Duke got in the board with a couple made foul shots by Rasheed Sulaimon. A questionable charge call was made on Carolina soon after, handing the ball back to the Blue Devils.
With 15:56 to play, Carolina held the 6-4 edge. Rodney Hood came out of the media timeout and tied the game with a play inside.
Hood hit again, this time from deeper out to again knot the contest up at eight points before he hit one from behind the arc to give the visiting Blue Devils the 11-8 lead.
Tokoto responded with a score on the other end to trim the lead down to one at 11-10 with 13:45 to go in the first half.
Hood was proving too much for Carolina to handle early on as he score again on a fall away jumper. But this time, Desmond Hubert answered with a score of his own.
McDonald drained a deep shot as the shot clock expired to place the score at 18-16 in favor of Duke with under ten minutes to play in the opening half.
Kennedy Meeks entered into the scoring fray next to tie the game at 18 with 8:55 on the first half clock. McDonald delivered once again with an aggressive play around the rim to give the Tar Heels the 20-18 advantage, but the Blue Devils came roaring right back with a score and a foul.
With 7:46 to play in the half, Duke held a 22-20 lead in the game.
Parker forced his way inside for a physical score. Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks answered right back with a beautiful make as the tempo continued to be locked in at a rapid pace.
Poor foul shooting continued to plague Carolina as they failed to convert on numerous trips to the charity stripe as the clock was winding down on the half. In total, the Tar Heels were an atrocious 1-8 from the foul line at the 3:25 mark in the first half.
Tokoto broke the train of free throw misses with a pair of makes to close the gap down to 29-26. But it was brief, as Parker jammed one home on the other end to extend the Blue Devil lead back out to five.
Parker followed up a couple foul shot conversions by Joel James with a put away at the rim. Duke was leading 33-28 with 1:40 to play in the half.
Duke’s Amile Jefferson picked up his third foul right before halftime. Nate Britt converted on both of his free throws, taking full advantage.
But the Tar Heel defense was having trouble stopping the dynamic attack of the Blue Devils. At the half, Carolina was trailing Duke 37-30.
McDonald was leading all Carolina scorers with 11 points at the half while Duke’s Rodney Hood put up 11 points on his own to lead his team at the intermission.
Duke was shooting 50 percent from the floor while Carolina was shooting at a 44 percent clip from the field.
Jefferson opened up the second half with a smooth slider that found the nets to give Duke the 39-30 advantage.
McDonald found a lane and took it. It was 39-32. Coach Williams was all fired up after that play.
Paige darted to the basket for a quick score after a timeout to reduce the arrears down to 39-34 with 18:15 remaining.
Quinn Cook’s floater went down for Duke while Meeks continued to battle in the paint for the Tar Heels, earning a trip to the foul line. He made both in clutch style.
McAdoo stepped up and finished a play off a sharp Tokoto pass. With 17:03 on the clock, Duke held the 43-38 lead.
Cook hit a beautiful three-pointer to silence the crowd and push the Blue Devils out to a 49-40 lead with 15:41 on the clock.
Brice Johnson was inserted back into the contest after his three early fouls, finding his way to the free throw line, making one.
Tokoto scored on an athletic move to the basket to stir up the crowd once again and close the gap down to 52-45 with 13:03 to play.
Johnson picked up his fourth foul at the 12:23 mark and took a seat on the bench.
McDonald threw the ball away with the Blue Devils maintaining a 53-47 lead with 11:37 to go in the contest.
Both teams were applying good defensive pressure as the intensity began to ratchet up midway through the second half.
Tokoto threw in an emphatic jam to the delight of the Smith Center faithful. The Tar Heels only trailed 53-49 with 10:27 remaining.
Hubert battled his way to the line, but he missed both. The Carolina defense was keeping them in the game though with spirited play.
Both teams were finding it hard to find a basket as the pressure was building. Carolina eventually broke through thanks to a Johnson make that closed the gap to 53-51 with 6:40 to play.
Cook found a lane and made an easy layup out of a timeout to give the Blue Devils the 55-51 advantage. Tyler Thornton picked up his fourth foul with 6:06 to play, sending Johnson to the line. He converted on both.
Paige knocked down a three-pointer that closed the margin down to 57-56 with five minutes to play, but Duke popped a three-pointer on the other end to go up 60-56.
McDonald earned a trip to the free throw line on the ensuing possession and hit both. The game was tied off a McAdoo make with 4:14 to play in the contest and a timeout was called.
McDonald popped a jumper to take the lead for Carolina with 3:30 to play. A charge was called on Duke on the following possession. With 2:41 remaining, Carolina held a slim 62-60 advantage over Duke.
Paige hit a clutch jumper out of the timeout to give the Tar Heels a 64-60 lead. Johnson fouled out of the game on the next possession, giving Parker a trip to the line. He made both in hostile conditions.
Paige wanted the ball in his hands, and he delivered with another scorching jumper through the nets. Duke continued to miss.
With 48 ticks remaining, Duke chose to foul Britt. He made both in the pressure cooker. 68-62 in favor of the Tar Heels.
Duke responded with an efficient score that wasted no time. A timeout was called with UNC clinging to a 68-64 advantage with 42 ticks remaining.
Britt was hacked again. And he made both free throws to give Carolina the 70-64 lead.
Paige got the ball smartly at the end and closed out the game in style. Carolina emerged the rivalry game winner. Their eighth straight win was celebrated with a rushing of the court by alumni, fans and students.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a Saturday noon meeting with Wake Forest back in the Smith Center.
Click here for the full game photo gallery.
WCHL’s Matt Oakes had the chance to chat with ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who will be calling the game alongside Dick Vitale tonight.
The two talked about Carolina’s development, James Michael McAdoo’s play, Marcus Paige as the X-factor, Duke’s special talent in Jabari Parker, and Bilas’ fondest memory of his time as a player in the Tobacco Road Rivalry.
***Listen to the interview***
The 237th installment of what is widely believed to be the greatest rivalry in college sports promises to be another classic encounter between two of the most iconic programs in college basketball.
***Listen to the story***
Although a week and a day later than originally scheduled due to the winter storm, this game is shaping up to be memorable.
Head Coach Roy Williams says Carolina didn’t let the postponement affect them, picking up two key ACC wins since then.
“We’ve played two more games. That part has helped our confidence, there’s no question. But I thought we were in a good frame of mind at that point too. So I’ve tried to blow that off and say hey, we’re going to play next week instead of now,” Coach Williams says.
Sophomore guard Marcus Paige says the team’s ability to escape with a win against FloridaState without the services of James Michael McAdoo was a huge confidence booster for the Tar Heels.
“To have him play the way he did against FloridaState and have us still be able to bounce back and win, that’s big for us. It gave the rest of the guys a confidence boost,” Paige says.
Many Tar Heel and Blue Devil players grew up playing basketball with each other. Paige says that familiarity factor only adds fuel to the fire of the rivalry.
“We all know each other from the AAU circuit. We play so many games on the circuit, at camps and the skills academy. That kind of helps the rivalry. You know the guys you’re playing against. You’ve already been playing against them. It makes it more interesting and makes it more personal. It brings up the intensity level of the games, too,” Paige says.
Coach Williams says although he tries to treat the Duke game like all the others, the fact remains that this one is just “different”.
“This is different. I don’t care what anybody says. It’s different. We’re ten miles away. Some times it seems like hundreds of miles away with snow and things like that. Two programs have been very successful for a long time. I think it’s always going to be a little different,” Coach Williams says.
The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 132-104, but the Blue Devils claimed the last meeting between the two schools 69-53 in March of 2013.
Carolina is an even 39-39 against Duke since Mike Krzyzewski became the Duke Head coach. Thursday night’s game will tip the scales one way or another.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/duke-carolina-237th-chapter-pits-two-streaking-programs/
***Listen to the story***
One of the keys to the game will be how the Tar Heels fare from the free throw line. Head Coach Roy Williams says he was pleased with junior James Michael McAdoo’s improvement from the foul line.
“I never get too high or too low about free throws because there’s always another day. We keep working on them every day,” Coach Williams says.
McAdoo says the upswing in success for the Tar Heels has ultimately come down to the consistent defensive pressure they’re applying to their opponents.
“I think this biggest thing is probably our sense of urgency on defense. With that, just being disciplined and being really sound. Coach uses that word a lot. I think it has to do with one through five playing together. I think that’s the biggest thing just trying to get the offense out of their rhythm,” McAdoo says.
Sophomore Marcus Paige agrees with McAdoo’s sentiments. He says the improved defense has helped the offense gain some traction.
“Aside from the effort, we’ve been working a lot on guarding the ball so we don’t have to have guys help. I think the fact that we’ve done a better job doing that has allowed our defense to be a little more successful so guys aren’t always in scrambles and rotations. Guys are just defending the ball better. That’s definitely helped,” Paige says.
Despite the winning streak, Coach Williams says he’s hesitant to predict the future success of the team, but he says mentally, it’s easy to build off the momentum of winning.
“I’ve said before, the more you make the more you make. In golf, the more putts you make the more putts you make. I’m not going to say we’re going to win the next 26. But I like the way we’re doing some things. If kids have got more confident, I think that’s a huge part of it,” Coach Williams says.
Coach Williams says the sense of urgency is palpable in his team right now. He says Carolina isn’t taking any game for granted and that is making the difference as the Tar Heels close out the season.
“Now we’re playing and every game is important to us. Our first five ACC games, we were 1-4 and those games were really important. But down the stretch, you want to be a confident team, and I think that’s helping us play well,” Coach Williams says.
The Tar Heels will find out a little more about themselves Thursday in a measuring stick contest against the Blue Devils. The game will be broadcast on 97.9 FM, WCHL and televised nationally on ESPN.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-appreciating-value-every-game-duke-game-looms-large/
CHAPEL HILL–The Tobacco Road Rivalry gets set for its 237th installment Wednesday night in the Dean Smith Center. There have been so many unforgettable moments in the series that many believe is the greatest rivalry in all of college sports.
The proximity of the two institutions separated only by a 15-minute drive down 15-501 only adds fuel to the intensity in the rivalry.
With that in mind, we wanted to hear from those who have been a part of the Duke-Carolina experience for so many years to get you set for what promises to be another exhilarating chapter Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.
Barry Jacobs: longtime ACC and Tar Heel sports writer, author of 14 annuals on ACC basketball
Eric Montross: Former UNC Basketball Player, Current Radio Analyst on Tar Heel Sports Network
Chris Spatola: Former Duke Basketball Director of Operations, Current CBS Sports Broadcaster
Rick Steinbacher: Former Tar Heel Football Player, Current UNC Senior Assoc. Athletic Director