Duke and North Carolina met for the 235th time in series history last Wednesday, and it was yet another hard-fought battle that was decided in the final minutes. Mason Plumlee and Quinn Cook both scored 18 points, and the Blue Devil defense held North Carolina to 37.9 percent shooting for the game. Duke outrebounded the Tar Heels 39-38, no small feat considering North Carolina ranks second in the ACC in rebounding and rebounding margin. Thanks to gritty second-half performances from Plumlee and Cook and some timely shooting from Tyler Thornton, Duke outscored the Tar Heels 44-35 in the second half to win, 73-68. The Blue Devil Network put together several highlight packages, which are available on GoDuke.com here:
BLUE DEVILS IN CLOSING SECONDS
The high from the win over North Carolina didn't last long, as Maryland pulled off a last-minute 83-81 victory over the Blue Devils in the Comcast Center on Sunday. Senior Seth Curry scored 25 points, and Duke freshman Rasheed Sulaimon looked like anything but a freshman in the closing seconds when - with Duke trailing 81-78 - he was fouled on a three-pointer and hit all three free throws in front of a raucous Maryland crowd to tie the game. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, Maryland freshman Seth Allen responded by making his own two free throws with less than three seconds left to put the Terrapins ahead 83-81. Quinn Cook got off a desperation heave as the final buzzer sounded, but his shot hit the backboard and clanged off the front of the rim. The loss was Duke's first to Maryland since March 3, 2010.
BEYOND THE BOX
SCORE: TYLER THORNTON
Mason Plumlee and Quinn Cook both scored 18 points, Rasheed Sulaimon dished out five assists and Seth Curry nailed a couple treys as usual, but it was the second player off Duke's bench that Coach K and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams singled out as the player of the game following Duke's win over North Carolina. Tyler Thornton's final stat line was solid - nine points, four rebounds, one assist - but as has been the case his entire career, the junior point guard's impact Wednesday night far exceeded anything the final box score could illustrate.
Thornton hit three three-pointers in the game, providing an emotional spark with each one. His first trey came in the first half and was Duke's first trey of the game, ending an uncharacteristic long-range shooting drought and igniting a late run that allowed Duke to cut an eight-point deficit to four by the end of the half. His second two came in the second half as part of a 19-7 run that put Duke ahead 50-45, a lead that the Blue Devils would not relinquish. Thornton also grabbed two key offensive rebounds that led directly to five points during that game-changing run and played lock-down defense late when the Tar Heels cut the Duke lead to four points.
"I think the hero of the game for us was [Tyler] Thornton," said Krzyzewski. "He would not let us lose. He was guarding the four, he hit a big three, and his pass to Quinn in the full court...and he knocked it out one time, didn't get the rebound, but knocked it out so we got an extra possession. Just a terrific performance by Tyler Thornton."
DURING ALL-STAR WEEKEND
Kyrie Irving has found more success in his first two NBA All-Star weekends than most league veterans have in their entire careers. Irving, who in his 2011-12 rookie season was named MVP of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, drew his first official all-star nod this year. He made his return to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge last Friday, playing this year for Team Shaq, and nearly matched his 2012 stat line with 32 points, six assists and six rebounds. He followed that performance on Saturday by winning the NBA Three-Point Shootout over Matt Bonner, a nine-year NBA veteran and career .416 shooter from three-point range. Finally, in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game, Irving scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting while dishing out four assists. Irving hit three treys in the game, but his West squad fell, 143-138, to the East. Former Blue Devil Luol Deng also participated in the game and scored 10 points.
To view highlights of Irving's all-star weekend performances, visit the links below.
ankle-breaking moves (NBA.com)
Three-Point Shootout (NBA.com)
SNEAKERS 2 SUCCEED CAMPAIGN STOPS AT DUKE
Former Blue Devil and current Los Angeles Lakers point guard Chris Duhon will bring his Stand Tall Foundation's Sneakers 2 Succeed campaign to Duke on March 2 prior to the Blue Devils' 6 p.m. showdown against Miami in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duhon's charity aims to collect new or gently used sneakers for children in need throughout the United States. The sneakers collected at the event will be donated to homeless children in Durham. The event begins at 12 p.m. with drop-off bins set up along the entrance of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
NETWORK PRESENTS ONE2ONE: MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
This Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m. EST, CBS Sports Network's Alaa Abdelnaby sits down with his former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to discuss how he and the sport have changed over the years, his rekindled passion for coaching, and the role his family plays in his success. To view a clip from the show, where an emotional Krzyzewski discusses his daughter being bullied at school after a Duke loss to North Carolina, click on the following link: http://cbsprt.co/12M02OV.
OPENS UP ABOUT LIFE-CHANGING INJURY
He is one of ESPN's top college basketball analysts and without a doubt one of the greatest players to ever wear a Duke uniform, but for a significant portion of his life Jay Williams was a cautionary tale illustrating how a person's future can change in the blink of an eye. Williams, who led Duke to the 2001 national championship and had his professional basketball career cut short by a gruesome motorcycle accident, opened up to The New York times' Greg Bishop about his meteoric rise to Duke basketball star and No. 2 NBA draft pick and his even quicker descent to life in a hospital bed and years of rehabilitation, physical therapy and failed NBA comebacks. Williams' journey is an incredible story of perseverance and family, and one that he has not told in such detail until recently. The article, titled "A leg rebuilt, a life renewed for Jay Williams," is available at NYTimes.com at the link below:
BEAT UNC ON BUZZER-BEATER
While Wednesday's 73-68 win over rival North Carolina provided the late-game excitement that Triangle basketball fans have come to expect from the greatest rivalry in college sports, in terms of excitement, the game took a backseat to the annual Duke-North Carolina managers scrimmage that took place in Cameron the night before. Every year, the managers for the Duke and North Carolina basketball teams square off in a regulation game for bragging rights, at least until the next edition of the little-known rivalry. Tuesday night's game came down to the wire, but it was Duke sophomore Graham Vehovec who channeled his inner Austin Rivers and knocked down the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. The UNC managers left Vehovec unguarded on the right corner, and Ian McKiernan found him open with a bounce pass through traffic to set up the game-winning bucket. Jamie Stark led Duke with 18 points, while Sean Kelly - younger brother of Duke senior Ryan Kelly - scored 16. To watch the final play of the game - and a rare Duke court-storming - follow the link below:
ACC & NATIONAL POTW HONORS
Mason Plumlee is going to need a new shelf to house the awards he has received this season, earning both ACC Player of the Week and USBWA National Player of the Week honors last week after guiding Duke to wins over N.C. State and Boston College. Plumlee averaged 24.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 assists in the victories while scoring 30 points against the Wolfpack and sinking the tying and winning free throws in Duke's 62-61 win at Boston College. It was the second ACC Player of the Week award this season for Plumlee and the second career national player of the week citation for the 6-10 senior.
leads Duke basketball to comeback over UNC (Duke Chronicle)
tonight, Lance Thomas gives Hornets fans tasty mea culpa (Nola.com)
win on buzzer-beater (ESPN.com)
provides power, passion & perimeter shooting (Raleigh News & Observer)
Devil Nolan Smith playing key role in Quinn Cook's development (Fayetteville
still seeking identity this season (Boston Globe)
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
My take: Duke is still a one seed. Give them the edge over Gonzaga and Fla. If they beat Miami at home on 3/2 it's a no brainer.
#Duke's K on Mason: "He's been great. Obviously he was not good tonight. We'll keep him. We believe in him."
Good genes RT @SamChotty: @ShaneBattier watching UNC Duke 2001..everyone looks so young (esp Boozer) except you lol looking exactly the same
Nolan D. Smith
Happy Birthday to the GOAT! Coach K! The boys had to get the Win for him!! Yessir
STAT OF THE
Duke has lost back-to-back games just once since the 2009-10 season. Duke's record following a loss during that span is 16-1.
QUOTE OF THE
"I like him because he can get angry. I don't think players get angry like they used to. That comes easy for me."
-Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski on junior point guard Tyler Thornton following Duke's 73-68 win over North Carolina