This week we'll look back on the week it was for North Carolina. We all know they had the big game this past week against Duke in Chapel Hill but who could have guessed the most exciting game would be played this past Sunday against Clemson? Clemson. These two games were the first full games that the Tar Heels had played without starting point guard Ty Lawson and everyone was eager to see how they would fare. Here's how it went:
#2 Duke 89 - #3 North Carolina 78 (2/6/08)
Randomly Greg Paulus dropped 18 points by hitting three's from all over the perimeter against the undermanned Tar Heels. Paulus, who has been playing well as of late, hit one off balance three pointer while fading a way no less. At that point everyone realized that it might be difficult for UNC to come back, even with the game being in their arena. While the game had the typical big game feel of a UNC/Duke clash it never fully materialized into a gem. The key reasons being that UNC didn't show up as they normally do. A) Ty Lawson, their point guard and third leading scorer was hurt. B) Their second and fourth leading scorers, Ellington and Green, shot a combined 4-24. That means they basically got nothing from two of their top three scorers in a game against the number 2 ranked team in the country. I don't care how good Tyler Hansbrough (and he had 28 pints and 18 rebounds) is, that won't get it done. On the other side Duke and Coach K got big time contributions from freshman forward Kyle Singler and sophomore two guard John Scheyer. Singler dropped 14 (points) and 10 (boards) while Scheyer went off for 17. Very impressive game by Duke and their staff as it is obvious the Blue Devils are in the best shape of any team in the conference, if not the country. They basically ran UNC off the court. Should be very interesting in round 2 when Lawson comes back.
Clemson 93 - #3 North Carolina 103 2OT (2/10/08)
This game was the very much anticipated rematch of what happened just a short month ago. That first game ended in OT as UNC's sophomore guard Wayne Ellington hit his 5th three pointer of the game with .4 seconds left....This shot was a dagger and you've got to feel for the Tiger's after seeing this happen:
This game, however, finished up much differently for Clemson. While they didn't lose at the buzzer they did end up losing in heart breaking fashion. UNC , who had been tied with Princeton for having the longest home winning streak against one opponent, secured the record outright by handing Clemson it's 53rd straight loss in Chapel Hill (which is ridiculous). But I give credit where credit is due, and this Clemson bunch tried as best they could to get a W. Clemson, trying to make sure they didn't go down on the wrong end of history really came out strong in first half. Things seem to be going well as it looked as though Carlina was on the ropes. The Tigers were up 11 at the half and it felt like even more than that. Well what happend you ask? The second half started and Carolina blew up. Ellington hit jumpers from the corner, Hansbrough was a bull, and after an off night against Duke Danny Green returned to his normal self. While Hansbrough was clearly the game's MVP after going for an absurd 39 points and 13 boards, the biggest plays of the game might have been made 3rd string-turned starting point guard Quentin Thomas. Thomas, who had turnover issues early in his career made a huge layup to send the Heels' into the first OT.
....and then he hit these pair of free throws to put the game into double OT.
Once UNC miraculously managed to get into double OT it was a wrap. The Tigers had nothing more in the tank and Tyler Hansbrough just willed his way to win. One play Pyscho-T made both my my roommate and I with our jaws dropped. I would describe but it's best to just see for yourself. A 6'9 center playing perimeter defense should never be able to do this (starts 42 seconds into the video).
The Tigers (17-6, 5-4) will have other opportunities to rebound from this loss. Senior guard Cliff Hammonds went for 31 in the losing effort. Junior guard K.C Rivers added 14 points. For North Carolina (22-2, 7-2) the road get a bit easier as they go on the road to the play the Cavaliers of Virginia.
Best Game this Week:
Maryland at #2 Duke, Wednesday 2/13/08, 7pm
After a rocky start the Terps from Maryland have really hit their stride. This past week (2/2 - 2/9) the Terps have won three ACC games, two of which were on the road. Leading the way for the team from College Park has been 6'8 senior power forward James Gist. He's averaged 22 points and 8 rebounds per game during this stretch as he, along with the other four starters, have put this young team on their back.
Duke on the other hand has just been itself. Crushing teams with speed and skill while playing aggressive defense. The Blue Devils haven't lost in 08'. They are on an eleven game winning streak and really haven't been pushed since their loss against Pitt in the Garden. Which happened back in December.
ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week..
James Gist's put back on Hansbrough in Maryland's season changing upset win....