Duke's win ends UNC's 27-year run of NCAA tourneys

60-48 defeat, 8-20 record close Tar Heels' season

March 09, 2002|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina will miss the NCAA tournament for first time in 28 years, and that might have been the most normal aspect of its 60-48 loss to Duke last night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Before Jason Williams got down to business - scoring 14 of his game-high 20 points over the last 10 minutes to move the No. 3 Blue Devils (27-3) into the semifinals - one wondered where to start when it came to the strange twists in this installment of one of college basketball's greatest rivalries.

Start with Duke's relief at winning.

Before turnovers (17 total) eventually doomed the Tar Heels, they belied their 8-20 record by pulling to 37-34 after Jawad Williams' jumper as the shot clock expired at the 10:45 mark of the second half.

"This was an NCAA-type game," said Jason Williams, who hit two key three-pointers late. "You're fighting possession by possession."

It was close, because North Carolina used a stall tactic it's known for, except that the Tar Heels employed it from the tip-off.

"Obviously, we had to do something different," said Jason Capel, who had seven points and 12 rebounds in his final college game. "We weren't going to run-and-gun with them, and I was willing to do anything I could to help the team."

In their methodical approach, the Tar Heels employed a series of handoffs instead of passes to keep Duke's players from stealing the ball.

The tactic worked, with center Kris Lang (14 points) scoring the team's first five points, and North Carolina held a 12-10 lead after Will Johnson's free throw halfway through the first half.

Then Duke broke through - also normal - by going on a 16-2 run over six minutes that was capped by Mike Dunleavy's three-pointer for a 26-14 lead with 4:01 before halftime.

North Carolina closed strong by outscoring Duke 8-2, Lang's three-point play with 35 seconds left cutting Duke's lead to 28-22 at intermission.

"At that point, I thought we had a chance to change the way the game was played," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team missed three of four shots and committed two fouls in that stretch before the half.

But after Jawad Williams' shot capped a 12-5 run for the Tar Heels, Duke's Williams took over in his trademark fashion, nailing a three-pointer with 8:36 left to push his team's lead to 44-36.

He had a steal, layup and three-pointer on consecutive possessions to seal the game for the Blue Devils - and saddle the Tar Heels with their first 20-loss season in school history.

"We were just out there playing," Williams said when asked if the game's pace tested his patience. "We had to take good shots, and as the game went on, we took great shots."

NORTH CAROLINA-Williams 3-3 0-2 6, Capel 1-3 5-5 7, Lang 5-7 4-6 14, Scott 1-4 4-4 6, Boone 2-7 0-0 5, Morrison 1-3 0-0 3, Manuel 1-1 2-2 4, Johnson 0-0 1-2 1, Bersticker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 15-29 16-21 48. DUKE-Jones 3-8 0-1 6, Dunleavy 2-10 4-6 10, Boozer 2-4 7-8 11, Duhon 2-5 2-2 7, Williams 6-14 6-7 20, Horvath 1-1 0-1 2, Ewing 2-4 0-1 4. Totals 18-46 19-26 60. Halftime-Duke 28-22. 3-point goals-North Carolina 2-11 (Morrison 1-3, Boone 1-4, Capel 0-2, Scott 0-2), Duke 5-17 (Dunleavy 2-6, Williams 2-6, Duhon 1-4, Ewing 0-1). Fouled out-Capel. Rebounds-North Carolina 26 (Capel 12), Duke 23 (Boozer 7). Assists-North Carolina 12 (Capel 4), Duke 7 (Duhon, Williams 3). Total fouls-North Carolina 20, Duke 19. A-23,895.

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