DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Perhaps it was a six-game winning streak.
Perhaps it was the maturity Roy Williams has seen all season from
his four star freshmen. Whatever the reason, the North Carolina
coach truly felt his team could finish out the regular season with
an improbable victory at Duke.
"I hope it isn't cockiness, but I told them that I thought we
were the only team in the country that could come in here and win
this game," Williams said. "I believed that we could if we
And play they did.
Tyler Hansbrough scored 27 points, fellow rookie Danny Green
came up with the key defensive stop and the Tar Heels (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP)
held off No. 1 Duke 83-76 Saturday night in the final home game for
J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams.
Bobby Frasor, yet another first-year player, converted two
clutch free throws with 23 seconds remaining, and Hansbrough later
made two more. That made it a five-point game, and the Blue Devils
(27-3, 14-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) were done when DeMarcus
Nelson missed everything on a 3-pointer at the other end.
"When I knocked down those free throws, it hit me that we'd
just come in here and beat Duke," Hansbrough said. "It doesn't
get any better than this."
The Blue Devils completed the regular season with their first
loss to North Carolina in Cameron since 2001 and will almost
certainly drop from the top spot in The Associated Press poll on
Monday after losing two in a row. Florida State stunned Duke
earlier in the week.
Marcus Ginyard, the fourth freshmen in the rotation for the Tar
Heels (21-6, 12-4), added 12 points and Frasor finished with 10.
Green stripped Duke's Sean Dockery on a drive in the final minute
when the margin was only three points.
"We've got a lot of guys contributing and that makes us a
dangerous team," Green said. "I think this proves we're capable
of beating anybody."
Redick scored 18 points despite missing 15 of his final 16
shots, and Shelden Williams had 18 points, 15 rebounds and six
blocks. In his past four games, Redick is 23-for-80 from the field,
only 29 percent.
"It was a weird night," he said. "I'm just not shooting the
ball well right now. I'm getting great looks, but they're just not
The Blue Devils wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament
before their recent struggles, and they head there looking for
their seventh title in eight years.
"Sometimes it's not bad to hurt," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
said. "Sometimes you don't want things until you get hurt. We got
hurt today, let's see what we do."
For the first 30 minutes, this one appeared that it would be
decided in the final seconds, as so many games are in this Tobacco
Road rivalry. It was 59-59 midway through the second half -- the
eighth tie -- when the Tar Heels surprisingly took control.
An 11-0 run did it, with little-used senior Byron Sanders
leading the way. He got a pair of nifty assists from reserve point
guard Quentin Thomas for his only two baskets of the game, and when
Thomas fed David Noel for a jumper, North Carolina led by 10.
It was 70-59 when Reyshawn Terry added a free throw, but the Tar
Heels made a couple of inexplicable errors to let Duke back in it.
Frasor had a layup blocked easily by Shelden Williams, and Terry
unleashed an off-balance jumper early in the shot clock that
bounced off the side of the backboard.
"We put ourselves in a bad position by being stupid," Roy
Williams said. "I told Bobby that he needed to be a little more
intelligent. Reyshawn's shot from over there, I have no idea why
anybody would try and shoot that ball."
Nelson swished two 3s in a span of about 40 seconds and Lee
Melchionni put back a miss from Redick to fuel the rally. Suddenly,
the Blue Devils were down only 77-74, and when Nelson got a steal
on the ensuing possession, they had a chance to tie.
The Cameron Crazies were in a frenzy.
"My ears started ringing when they made that run," Hansbrough
said. "It's everything it's hyped up to be."
But Green thwarted Dockery's drive through the lane, which led
to the free throws by Frasor and Hansbrough, and North Carolina
held on to win for the seventh time in eight ACC road games this
season. The four freshmen outscored Duke's four senior starters
"We've got a lot of confidence right now in each other, and
that's contagious," Ginyard said. "I know it's helped me."
Ford's 21 carries Wagner past Merrimack 64-59 for NEC title
— Elijah Ford had 21 points and 13 rebounds as Wagner narrowly beat Merrimack 64-59 on Wednesday to capture the Northeast Conference championship.
Griffin, Boeheim lead Syracuse past Clemson 64-54
— Alan Griffin hit three straight 3-pointers to score nine of his 22 points in just under three minutes on Wednesday, as Syracuse opened the second half on a furious 15-2 run to break away from Clemson for a 64-54 win.
Griffin extends Syracuse's lead with long 3-pointer
Syracuse forward Alan Griffin pulls up from way downtown and knocks down the 3-pointer.