Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lack of threes and poor foul shooting catches up to Heels as Duke rallies

Erratic three-point shooting and poor foul shooting finally caught up to Carolina this year in a game against rival Duke as a 16-point lead evaporated and ended with a 79-73 Blue Devil victory.

Despite being 7-1 in the ACC coming into the game, Carolina was next to last in the ACC in three-point shooting and eighth in free throw shooting.

It was really a remarkable first half for the Tar Heels as they made Duke look slow and led by 14 at the half. Carolina players were hitting their shots and, with freshman Kendall Marshall at the helm, getting out quickly on the fast break.

But in the second half Duke picked up its intensity and Carolina couldn't buy a basket from outside of about five feet away from the basket.

Carolina was still there late in the game and would have had a good chance at winning if the Heels could have hit their free throws and at least a couple of three pointers.

The Tar Heels were 0 of six from behind the arc in the second half and only two of 14 for the game. Duke got 18 more points from three-point land and two more free throws. That's a 20-point differential.

Carolina hit just 13 of 22 free throws plus the two players best from beyond the arc went a combined one of nine. Freshman Reggie Bullock was 0 of four from three while Leslie McDonald was 1 of five from three. Dexter Strickland, who had been shooting well lately, was in foul trouble and didn't even take a three and took only four shots.

Meanwhile Duke's Nolan Smith scored a career-high 34 points and Seth Curry added a career-high 22. The two scored 41 of Duke's 50 second-half points.

For more on the Duke-Carolina game itself, please click here.

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