Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Unlike Romo, Devils clutch in the end

Posted March 9, 2014

1. Let's go ahead and bottom-line Saturday's regular season finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium -- Duke's best two players were better than North Carolina's best two players as Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood combined for 54 points.

Parker was especially brilliant against the Tar Heels. The freshman got the ball in different positions and simply made plays. Parker drove through traffic, hit step-back jumpers and made a couple shots from beyond the arc. In what might have been his last home game at Duke, Parker finished with a career high 30 points on 10-of-17 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the free throw line.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams alluded to Mike Krzyzewski's previous comments about searching for "it" after the Blue Devils lost in Chapel Hill on February 20th.

"It's hard to say what 'it' is, but whatever the hell it is, Jabari found it," said Williams.

2. James Michael McAdoo factored into the first half for the Tar Heels with 11 points, but picked up his fourth foul within the opening minute of the second half. McAdoo didn't get back on the court until 11:11 was left in the game, at which point Duke had stretched their lead out to 16 points.

Marcus Paige scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half. His late game scoring bonanzas are pretty much a given, but Paige missed back-to-back three point attempts during a critical stretch with under three minutes to go. North Carolina had pulled within 81-73 after successfully pressuring Duke's offensive into turnovers. With Paige unable to convert those into points, the Blue Devils were content to take the air out of the ball with the remaining time. 

3. Duke sank six 3-pointers in the second half. A far cry from the disastrous scoring drought from the previous meeting in Chapel Hill. The Blue Devils also nullified North Carolina's size advantage, out-rebounding the Tar Heels 34-20 overall.

Throw in the second chance points from their 16 offensive rebounds and 15 points off turnovers, it helped Duke hold off an otherwise hot shooting night from North Carolina.

4. Duke and North Carolina are locked into the #3 and #4 seeds for the ACC Tournament. Where they go from there is anybody's guess.

As Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon go, so go the Blue Devils. Their consistency in handling pressure situations and managing to get the ball to Parker has to be the focal point throughout the post-season.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels continue to vex observers. Despite a 12-game winning streak leading up Saturday's contest against Duke, North Carolina only beat two NCAA Tournament caliber opponents and both wins were at home. Regardless, they beat the teams in front of them on night's where McAdoo and Paige weren't at their best.

North Carolina is a team with a razor thin margin for error. The Tar Heels could make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament or be out by the opening weekend. Either outcome won't be a shock.

5. Credit to the Cameron Crazies for taking advantage of new material provided by the North Carolina academic scandal. Instead of cheering "go to hell, Carolina, go to hell!" at the players as they walked on to the court, students chanted "go to class, Carolina, go to class!"

There were also some familiar faces in the crowd.

6. Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo were in attendance. Each wore a Duke polo, creating a glitch in the bandwagon matrix.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was also in the house. Unlike Romo, who was demonstratively into the game, Goodell seemed less than impressed.


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  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 10, 2014
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    True, and the fact that there was already enough written about the actual game, Ovies was probably assigned to write about a different aspect of the game, which is what he did.

  • Hammerhead Mar 10, 2014

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    Social media, it's all the rage. It drives the content.

  • Doc Holliday Mar 10, 2014

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    LOL, Gunny.

  • InTheNo Mar 9, 2014

    Ovies: Maybe you can get a job writing for Entertainment Tonight. It looks like you're more interested in gossip and star gazing. Weren't you supposed to write about the game instead of looking for an opportunity to say something bad about someone who wasn't a part of that game? The only reason I can think of for this kind of attitude among sports "writers" is because they obviously aren't blessed with any athletic abilities themselves. And some can't even write about a game they're assigned to report on.

  • Toddler10-21 Mar 9, 2014

    LOL. UNC fan yeah right.

  • vt94hokies Mar 9, 2014

    Duke shot the light out last night. Parker and Cook looked awesome. These two put on a clinic. Rebounding was huge.

  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 9, 2014
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    BB5, I don't know how anyone could confuse Toddler for a Carolina fan, pretty funny right there:)

  • mike honcho Mar 9, 2014

    Proud of my Devils coming out with a chip on their shoulder, after the embarassment at WF.
    Hood and Parker wanted to send our seniors out with a "W". If for some reason those 2 return next season, which I dont expect......OMG.

    Starting 5- Okafor, Jones, Hood, Parker, Sulimon........clear a spot for another banner!

  • Doc Holliday Mar 9, 2014

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    T is a State fan...just an fyi.

  • Cathy Lane Mar 9, 2014
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    Duke had the same issue when they played in CH. Is that why Duke lost there and UNC lost in Durham? Blame it on fouls and you take away for the game. Ref miss plenty of calls and this was not Syracuse game where call did determine the outcome. Great rivalry, great game.




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