ACC Basketball: UNC 101, Duke 87
By Bret Strelow
DURHAM ó Danny Green flashed four fingers on each hand as he jogged through the narrow walkway separating two sections of Cameron Crazies.
An intense expression still covered the face of Tyler Hansbrough, but he cracked a smile as he followed his teammates to the locker room.
With a major boost from point guard Ty Lawson, Hansbrough and Green finished unbeaten in four career trips to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Lawson took over in the final eight minutes and totaled 25 points as third-ranked North Carolina posted a 101-87 victory over sixth-ranked Duke on Wednesday night. UNC’s seniors improved to 5-2 against the Blue Devils, who hadn’t allowed 100 points at home since a double-overtime loss to the Tar Heels in 1995.
“You come in here, it’s noisy as all get out,” Green said. “When you leave out of here, it’s crickets. When you hear crickets, it means you’re doing your job on the road.”
Hansbrough scored 17 points, and Green matched Wayne Ellington with 15 as the Tar Heels (22-2, 8-2 ACC) moved into sole possession of first place.
Hansbrough and Green joined Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan and Rusty LaRue as the only visitors to play in four wins at Cameron since Mike Krzyzewski took over Duke’s program in 1980.
“I’m going to miss playing everywhere, but I’m glad I’ve never been beaten here,” Hansbrough said.
Duke (20-4, 7-3) trailed 74-71 before Lawson scored nine of his 21 second-half points during a 14-0 run. The shot clock was set to expire when Hansbrough made a contested 3-pointer over David McClure for a 83-71 lead with six minutes left.
Hansbrough was a freshman when he sealed an improbable victory at Cameron with a 3-pointer. He has said that shot ranks No. 1 in his college career, but the latest attempt from long range has emerged as a contender.
“I think it’s right up there,” Hansbrough said. “It was a big shot, and the clock was winding down. I wasn’t scared to shoot it.”
Kyle Singler led Duke with 22 points and Jon Scheyer scored 20, but the Blue Devils had no answer for Lawson.
He banked in a runner to start UNC’s decisive run, then converted a steal into a layup for a 78-71 lead with 7:12 left.
Lawson pushed the margin to 17 points with two free throws and an acrobatic three-point play.
“Carolina had an A-plus game,” Krzyzewski said. “They were incredibly efficient offensively from the field, from the foul line, to get that many points in that many shots, and Lawson was great.
“Lawson was a pro tonight. That’s as well as a point guard has played against us for a while. He’s strong, he’s smart and he puts so much pressure on you.”
Deon Thompson (12 points) and Bobby Frasor, who were shooting a collective 34 percent in conference games, propelled UNC to a 29-18 lead in the early going. Thompson hit five of six shots in the first 10 minutes, and Frasor drilled a pair of 3-pointers.
Frasor, who went 0-for-12 from 3-point range in the Tar Heels’ previous eight games, made a third 3 to give his team a 34-26 advantage.
The Blue Devils answered with a 14-0 run and led 52-44 at the break. Duke allowed less than 60 points in six of its first seven ACC games, and the Tar Heels scored 57 in the second half alone by creating more room for Lawson to work.
Hansbrough set screens at the top of the key but rolled to the wing rather than toward the basket so the lane wouldn’t be as crowded for Lawson.
“I knew I could get to the basket,” Lawson said. “I always try to get Tyler, Danny and Wayne started. If at the end of the game it’s close, I’ll try to take over and get to the lane and force a lot of things.”
Duke committed four turnovers in five possessions once it pulled within three points, and it shot 36 percent in the second half after posting a 62-percent mark in the opening half.
UNC reached triple digits in a 40-minute contest against the Blue Devils for the first time since 1983, and a Krzyzewski-coached Duke team hadn’t allowed 100 points in a non-overtime game since the loss to UNLV in the 1990 championship game.
“When you get bad looks or bad possessions,” Scheyer said, “it just affects your defense.”
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