Archive for Sunday, March 7, 2004

Deng dandy for Duke

Devils fans taunt Williams as UNC falls

March 7, 2004

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— Duke fans made sure North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't forget Kansas University.

Luol Deng made sure the Blue Devils won.

The freshman forward bounced back from his worst outing of the season with 25 points in the third-ranked Blue Devils' 70-65 victory Saturday night over No. 14 North Carolina.

"These kids lived up to the hype of what a Duke-Carolina game should be," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Blue Devils fans added to the hype for Williams' first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium as the head coach of the Tar Heels. The Cameron Crazies created plenty of references to KU, his former employer.

Fans chanted the Rock Chalk Chant during warmups and some Duke students dressed up as characters from "The Wizard of Oz," after students had built a yellow-brick road outside the arena.

The Blue Devils (25-4, 13-3) had already clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title for the sixth time in eight years, but they were coming off a rare home loss.

The win was the 14th in 16 games for Duke against North Carolina (18-9, 8-8), including an 83-81 overtime victory in Chapel Hill on Feb. 5.

Deng's performance was memorable for everyone.

Duke's Chris Duhon celebrates after scoring in the second half. The
Blue Devils beat North Carolina, 70-65, Saturday in Durham, N.C.

Duke's Chris Duhon celebrates after scoring in the second half. The Blue Devils beat North Carolina, 70-65, Saturday in Durham, N.C.

"If you like college basketball you had to enjoy that," Williams said. "The problem is I pull extremely hard for our team. After going 1-for-14, I think Deng was extremely motivated to play exceptionally well and I thought he showed he's one of the premier, not just freshman, but premier players in the country."

Senior guard Chris Duhon came up with an exceptional defensive performance on North Carolina's Rashad McCants in the second half.

McCants, the leading scorer in the ACC at 19.9 per game, had 20 points for the Tar Heels, but he got 16 in the opening 22 minutes and the rest in the final 1:37. In between he was covered by Duhon, whose layup with 6.1 seconds left was the game-winner in the first meeting.

"The best way to stop him is not to let him touch the ball," Duhon said. "When he has the ball is when he's dangerous."

McCants couldn't keep the ball on one of the biggest possessions of the game.

McCants, who had 13 points as the Tar Heels took a 33-30 halftime lead, scored down low with 46 seconds left to make it 68-65. Duke worked the shot clock down and Daniel Ewing missed a three from the corner. North Carolina came down, McCants lost the ball near the top of the key and J.J. Redick grabbed the loose ball and called a timeout with 4.4 seconds to go.

"It would have been nice if Rashad could have handled the ball there and got it to someone for a three since he had two men on him, but he lost the ball and J.J. made a dive on the floor and came up with the ball," Williams said.

McCants thought he was fouled.

"I was about to pull up for a three and just got pounded," he said. "There was no call."

Krzyzewski said Redick was "known for his shooting, but his biggest play at Duke is a loose ball and he had the wherewithal to call a timeout.

"It's fitting a loose ball decided this game," Krzyzewski said.

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