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The Daily Tar Heel

Capel Gets 1st Victory Vs. Duke

UNC forward Jason Capel scored 20 points in his first win against the Blue Devils, his brother's former team.

DURHAM -- Former Duke guard Jeff Capel told his younger brother all week that his former team was going to get the better of North Carolina on Thursday night.

He even went as far to say the Tar Heels wouldn't keep the game close.

Jason Capel proved his brother wrong. And he finally got his first win against his brother's old team on his sixth try.

"I'm sure I'm going to have to eat a lot of crow," Jeff Capel said immediately after the game. "As soon as he gets going on the bus back, I'm sure I'll get a call on my cellular phone."

Actually, Jason Capel said he wouldn't make that call. To react in such a manner would have meant he was surprised by the outcome.

The two Capel brothers simply embraced in the UNC locker room after the game, and then Jeff went on his way.

"I'm not going to say much because I expected to win," Jason Capel said.

He let his play do his talking for him against the Blue Devils. The UNC junior scored a season-high 20 points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists in 38 minutes.

Capel, an 83-percent free-throw shooter, stood out in the final minutes. With UNC ahead 80-77 with 47.8 seconds left, Capel calmly stepped to the line and drilled both his attempts. After the second make, Capel turned and ran back on defense with a wide grin on his face.

More than 39 seconds later, Capel stepped to the line again and hit his second try to give UNC an 83-80 lead.

"I wanted him to hit those free throws," said Jeff Capel, who played at Duke from 1993-97. "That was the most difficult position I could have been in."

Jason Capel exuded the confidence at the line that his brother had hoped he would. Jeff instructed his brother to stay calm against Duke earlier this week and told him not to let the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium get under his skin.

Capel came out of the gates showing little of those ill effects, hitting five of his first six shots. He had 11 of UNC's first 33 points as the Tar Heels took a six-point lead with 7:18 left in the first half.

Capel started the second half with similar success. He scored UNC's first six points after intermission to give the Tar Heels a 47-40 advantage.

By the time he was standing at the foul line late in the contest, his brother was the Capel showing signs of nerves. Jeff held his cap in his hands and waved it in front of his eyes as his younger brother attempted his clutch free throws.

"It didn't look like he was calm tonight, but he channeled his emotions in a positive way to help him help his team play well," Jeff Capel said.

Jason Capel almost didn't get to have much of an effect on the final outcome. He started cramping up in the final minute and needed to go to the bench.

But he couldn't get off the floor before he was called for a block on a Mike Dunleavy dunk with 51.7 seconds left.

Capel exited the game and had trainer Marc Davis work on his legs. He came back into the game at the next dead ball, just in time to hit some clutch free throws.

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"Jason hit some big shots despite battling cramps," UNC coach Matt Doherty said.

A lot of big ones, regardless of his physical condition. Enough to help UNC pull off the upset as his brother watched a few feet away from the Duke bench.

Enough to make the bus ride home a lot more enjoyable than the last two from Cameron. Even if he didn't decide to give his brother that celebratory phone call.

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.