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Ken Medlin

Senior Night a month early for Smith

Posted February 10, 2011

If felt like Senior Night for Nolan Smith.

That was the only thing missing from Smith's virtuoso performance against North Carolina. Smith scored 22 of his career-high 34 points in the second half as the Blue Devils came from 14 points down at halftime to win by six.

Going in to this game, the most glaring weakness for Carolina was perimeter defense -- a shortcoming made even more short when Larry Drew, II skipped town for parts unknown. Smith exploited that weakness with precision; just look at the foul totals for Carolina's backcourt.

But Smith's dominance earned him something much more lasting. In a series like this one, great performances are remembered for years to come. This will be the "Nolan Smith Game," just as other games over the years have come to be known for great individual performances.

Just as there was an "Art Heyman Game" remembered for his 40 points, and a "Gene Banks Game" in which he hit two buzzer beaters and threw roses to the crowd, there is now a "Nolan Smith Game."

And it was impressive.

For Carolina, this team proved it has returned to prominence. The frontcourt combo of Henson and Zeller was much more than Duke could handle --  as evidenced by their combined totals of 38 points and 25 rebounds. And while Kendall Marshall still has some work to do defensively, his playmaking ability continues to impress -- 6 assists, 1 turnover.

Had the Tar Heels hit a few more free throws (they shot 13-for-22) or three-point shots (2-of-14), there might not be a "Nolan Smith Game" to remember.

But there is, and the only thing missing was Senior Night.

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DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
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CLE 2
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CWS 11
Final
CIN 3
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Final
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Final
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MIN 2
Final
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Final
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ATL 4
Final
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STL 1
Final
SFG 1
PIT 3
12:10pm Today
TAM
MIL
 
12:10pm Today
NYM
PHI
 
12:35pm Today
CIN
ARI
 
12:40pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
OAK
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
PIT
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
ANA
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
COL
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ATL
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
STL
 
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR