Duke just had 'it'
Posted March 9
Three hours before the game fans spanned the grounds of Krzyzewskiville. Body paint was out in full force, music was blasting and a Carolina fan wasn't anywhere in site.
An hour before the game Cameron was rocking and the energy was very much in favor of the home team. Needless to say emotions were high as the teams took the court. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sat baseline, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo sat mid-court, this was the hot ticket event of the season – even when no one thought it would be back in early January.
North Carolina had their upset win at home, and despite their play of late, Duke came out with a vengeance staking claim to the win on their turf.
"It's a huge win for us, just like it was a huge win for them when they beat us there, it's a huge win because it's a huge game," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
With the win Duke remains undefeated at home and if anyone set foot in Cameron Indoor Saturday night, they'd see why. There wasn't a moment of silence – unless Duke was at the line, it was hot, it was completely dark blue and it was 'turned up' the entire time. Easy fuel for the Duke squad.
"I knew that the Crazies came to support," said Duke's Jabari Parker. "Shout-out to them. They spend their time all day out in the cold. The only fans in America that do that."
With the fans behind them, Duke put on a clinic. And behind Jabari Parker's 30-point game, the Duke squad never relinquished the lead.
"Today I just pulled through, I got that extra drive," said Duke's Jabari Parker. "Once we gained momentum, it kind of stayed on our side."
"Jabari, that was about as impressive as I've seen him in a long long time," said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. "It's hard to say what 'it' is, but whatever the hell 'it' is, Jabari found it."
But it wasn't just Parker, Rodney Hood threw in another 24 points of his own.
"This was the first game where they were both sensational together, they've been good together but tonight they were sensational," said Krzyzewski.
"Me and Jabari got to be there no matter what... we gotta be there every single day for our teammates," said Duke's Rodney Hood.
After taking a 13 point lead in the first half, North Carolina eliminated the mistakes to battle back to a three-point deficit at the half. But the Heels came out shaky again to start the second and Duke took a 19 point lead over the Tar Heels.
"We felt we were in a good spot only down three going into the second half cause we didn't play very well and we were still able to hang in and be one possession away," said UNC's Marcus Paige. "But we didn't start the second half the way we wanted to. They came out as the aggressor and once they started making shots it got kind of contagious for them."
UNC cut the 19 point lead to eight with just under three to play but the Tar Heels were forced to foul and Duke scored their last 16 points on free throws.
"We've just got to put this behind us, watch the film on it, learn from it and be able to come back and be ready for the next one," said UNC's Brice Johnson.