DURHAM — Right before the opening tip North Carolina's starting five sat side by side on the bench as Duke introduced its lineup.
No one said a word. No one expressed any emotion. Just blank stares as they readied themselves for the prime-time fight set to begin.
And ready to play they were. All five scored at least 12 points to lead No. 3 UNC to a 101-87 win at Duke" securing the school's first four-game winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1982-85.
The 101 points scored marked the first time the Tar Heels eclipsed the 100-point mark since scoring 102 in double overtime at Cameron in 1995 and the first time any team has hit three digits against Duke in nine seasons.
""It was a great second half for us" coach Roy Williams said after the game. I was really extremely discouraged in the first half with our defensive play — all of our play the last four or five or six minutes in the first half. But in the second half" we were really good offensively.""
The opening period was highlighted by prolonged periods of dominance by both teams. The Tar Heels (22-2" 8-2 in the ACC) took the first 10 minutes; the Blue Devils controlled the second.
And during the Tar Heels' opening run it looked as though Duke was destined for another disappointing first half.
Right from the opening tip North Carolina looked inside for its points. Deon Thompson netted his first three attempts Tyler Hansbrough added a dunk and Danny Green drove for a layup as the Tar Heels made their first five shots of the game.
At the 10:54 mark UNC led 29-18 and was on pace for a 60-point first half. Then the defensive intensity that propelled North Carolina vanished and Duke grabbed the game's momentum.
Time after time a Duke guard peeled off a screen and found a wide-open lane for two points. That formula fueled a 14-0 Blue Devil run that turned an eight-point UNC lead into a six-point advantage for the Blue Devils (20-4" 7-3).
A halftime stat sheet that read Duke shooting 61.4 percent in the first period — with three players in double figures — highlighted UNC's defensive problems.
""First half" they just took it right to us" Williams said. They outplayed us that last 10 minutes.""
As play resumed in the second half" the score tightened and emotions flared.
Kyle Singler who led Duke with 22 points was flagged for a technical foul" and it seemed as though every rebound resulted in at least one player crashing to the floor.
Williams even ditched his jacket with 12:31 remaining as the two rivals braced for the game's stretch run.
The increased intensity spilled over to UNC's defensive play as well. Duke stopped getting open looks and was held to 32 points after halftime.
""In the first half" they got some easy baskets they were driving on us just beating us to the basket junior Wayne Ellington said.
But in the second half we just dug deeper" we didn't give them as many easy shots. We made them shoot over us and take tougher ones.""
On offense" North Carolina turned to its stars to control of the game. Ty Lawson attacked the hoop" and Hansbrough asserted himself in the paint.
The two UNC starters combined to score 32 points in the second half after each scored four in the first.
""In the second half" we kind of had the mindset that we were going to outscore them" Singler said. But you're not going to outscore Carolina.""
Those two factors — offense and defense — came to a head during UNC's 14-0 run where the game's signature moment occurred.
Up 80-71" Hansbrough received the ball on the right wing as the shot clock wound down. And just as he did three years ago" he knocked down a back-breaking 3-pointer to bookend his Cameron career.
""It's a big accomplishment"" Hansbrough said on going 4-0 at Duke.
With the win, Hansbrough and Green became two of only four players to win four straight games at Cameron in the Mike Krzyzewski era.
I told our guys" ‘The streak is going to stop at some time"'"" Williams said. ""‘Let's just put it off for another year.'""
Hansbrough could appreciate the feat he had just accomplished.
""This is one of the toughest places to play in college basketball. Not many people are able to do this"" and I feel honored to be up there.""
Contact the Sports Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Film by Will Cooper" Editing by Zach Evans and Jarrard Cole
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