The Golden Eagles actually won the second half 48-41, shooting 52 percent and holding UNC to 38 percent, but they never created any meaningful suspense due to the immense size of the deficit. Carolina was so effective in the first half that even the lackluster second frame failed to dislodge Roy Williams from near-euphoric descriptions of his team following the game.
“I looked up at the clock and it was 10-8 their favor, and the next time I looked at the clock is when I went off at halftime and it was 40-15,” Williams said. “I knew we were doing very well to say the least.”
Carolina enjoyed a huge size advantage in the game, and Tyler Zeller capitalized most. Zeller has been the team’s best player in the tournament, and his 27 points almost have become the norm. He contributed in some new areas as well, however, amassing 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
John Henson added his typical double-double, going for 14 points, 12 rebounds and also five blocks. Perhaps the only asterisk applied to the big guys was that both Zeller and Henson shot less than 50 percent from the floor.
Harrison Barnes suffered through a poor shooting game as well. He converted only 7-for-18 shots en route to 20 points and nine rebounds. The backcourt actually scored more efficiently than usual, as Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland — playing near home in Newark — combined for 6-for-9 shooting and 15 points.
UNC will look to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with an upset late tonight.
Tar Heel coach Sylvia Hatchell said tonight’s contest may be a battle of depth.
“They (Stanford players) all know their roles, they play well together, and that's a really big part of a team being successful - people knowing their roles and accepting those roles and they just have the pieces of the puzzle and they all fit in,” Hatchell said.
“When a team has depth and their depth can come out there and keep things going, then that really is a tremendous quality of a championship team. I feel like Stanford has that. I think we have that as well. I think our depth is one of the strengths of our team. So I think it's again we're hoping to give them a game and give them some competition and pull off an upset victory.”
To understand what happened to Duke in last night's loss needs only brief analysis. Arizona's Derrick Williams, a "beautiful" player, as Krzyzewski later called him, whose prowess we'd all have known about beforehand if he played in an East Coast market, turned in a truly extraordinary performance, maybe the greatest of his life. He scored 32 points, had 13 rebounds, and did damage both inside and out. Williams hit five of six three-point attempts, including a ludicrous buzzer-beater to conclude his 25-point (!) first half, and also had his way with Duke's interior defense. His two thunderous, devastating tomahawk dunks—the first on a highlight-reel follow of a teammate's miss—showed him to be an NBA superstar in the making.
Not only did Williams beat Duke in statistically obvious ways, he contributed indirectly during the critical stretch when the Wildcats not only erased Duke's lead but built a commanding one of their own. After Duke's Smith hit a jumper nine seconds into the second half to give the Devils a 46-38 lead, Arizona went on a runaway-train 28-9 run until the under-12 timeout.
Williams scored only two of those 28 points. As Krzyzewski pointed out, Singler did a very good job covering Williams in the second half, holding him to seven points. But, he added, that forced Duke's big men to cover smaller, faster Arizona players out nearer the perimeter, helping the Wildcats spread the floor and attack the lane, freer and more vulnerable with the Plumlee brothers less anchored in it. The ferocious Wildcats outrebounded Duke by an unthinkable 25-9 margin in the second half.
Also, Singler, who has struggled with his shot all season but hit two three-pointers in an early 38-second span on his way to 14 first-half points, scored just four in the second half. It's hard not to think that the effort of guarding Williams consumed him and neutralized his offensive game after halftime.
A sad but philosophical Krzyzewski summed it after the game when he declared, quite simply, that the better team won the game—which was really its last 20 minutes.
And so, the immediate question for Duke is: Now what?
RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—How many times do you hit the snooze button before you get up in the morning?
Tuomo Ruutu and LaRose provided the wake-up call, scoring to tie the game within a minute of Marek Svatos' goal late in the first period that had given the Senators their two-goal lead. Ward did the rest, stopping 18 shots in the second period before LaRose's second goal of the game gave the Canes the lead for good. Cory Stillman's first goal in eight games iced it for the home team in the third.
The playoff race remains virtually unchanged, however. Both the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres won, so the Canes remained three points out of the eighth and final playoff slot in the Eastern Conference. Carolina and Buffalo have nine more games, and the Rangers one fewer than that.
Many clichés describe the Carolina Hurricanes' situation with 10 games remaining in the regular season. It's crunch time. There's no tomorrow. Every game's a must-win game. Their backs are against the wall. There's no crying in hockey.
However you describe it, the Hurricanes have to win practically all of their remaining games, and get a bit of help from the teams ahead of them, to make the NHL playoffs this year. Tonight they host the Ottawa Senators, a team that hasn't been thinking about the playoffs since they took their Christmas trees out to the curb. Anything less than two points could be considered a failure.
The Canes have seen the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers pull away a bit, despite the fact that Carolina has beaten Buffalo twice head-to-head in the last couple of weeks. They've one more tilt remaining, on April 3, but with the way that the Sabres have been playing that game might not matter.
Now both Tar Heel basketball teams are going to the Sweet 16s, just like Duke’s.
The Tar Heels (27-8) will play the regional’s top seed, Stanford, on Saturday in Spokane, Wash.
Krista Gross added 14 points and 10 rebounds for UNC, while Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 10 rebounds to go with her seven points.
Victoria Dunlap led Kentucky (25-9) with 23 points, followed by A’dia Mathies with 13, Keyla Snowden 12 and Maegan Conwright 10.
In the 62nd minute of play, Fulham’s Clint Dempsey fired a 20-yard strike past Everton goalkeeper and compatriot Tim Howard to become the first American to score 10 goals during a Premier League season. However, Howard’s squad held on for an important 2-1 victory.
Less than 48 hours later, Dempsey and Howard again found themselves on the same field, this time more than 3,700 miles away on the windy, overcast training grounds of WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
This day, however, they are teammates on the United States men’s national team for the first day of training camp in advance of international friendlies against Argentina on March 26 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey and Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn. on March 29.
These friendlies are preparation for the USMNT’s competition in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, which will be host by the United States. The U.S. will be seeking its fifth Gold Cup title, and with it a berth in the 2013 CONCACAF Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Dempsey and Howard are two veterans on the 24-player roster U.S. head coach Bob Bradley tapped for these March friendlies. Among those not yet in camp: Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, Oguchi Onyewu and Maurice Edu. All had matches on Sunday that delayed their travel.
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke comes into the finale of the local NCAA Women’s Tournament subregional as a favorite, but the assignment is not a piece of cake.
The opponent for the No. 2 seed and No. 6-ranked Blue Devils (30-3) is No. 10 seed and No. 19 Marist (31-2), the champions of the MAAC who have won 27 games in a row.
Duke should have the advantage in depth, but Marist is a frequent participant in the NCAA Tournament and definitely knows how to win.
Marist leads most of the way and puts a real scare into the Blue Devils, who come up with a huge final 4 ½ minutes to escape with a 71-66 victory and earn the trip to Philadelphia.
Unlike Carolina’s first game in the tournament, a win over Long Island in which three players accomplished most of the scoring, numerous Tar Heels elevated their games against Washington. Freshman point guard Kendall Marshall stormed back after a series of relatively subpar games, scoring 13 points and handing out 14 assists. More than his statistical contribution, Marshall exhibited the poise and leadership expected of a senior — not a freshman.
The Heels enjoyed a skill advantage in the frontcourt and made the most of it. Tyler Zeller led all scorers with 23 points, and he buried critical free throws late in the game. Harrison Barnes knocked in several three-pointers against Washington’s zone defense, finishing with 22 points and adding three steals as well.
Dexter Strickland, playing on an injured knee, was the key defensive player. He held star Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas to 5-for-15 shooting, and Strickland added 13 points and six rebounds of his own. John Henson was the other primary factor for the Heels, alternating between hero and potential goat seemingly on a possession-by-possession basis. He made a key steal on an out-of-bounds situation but also dropped a desperate heave by Washington that he could have ignored and given Carolina the ball and a certain win.
Both Duke and UNC will try to duplicate Monday night in women’s basketball what they’ve already done on the men’s side.
Duke’s assignment is helped by the fact the Blue Devils will be playing their final home game of the season. Tonight at 7 the No. 6 Blue Devils (30-3), seeded No. 2 in the Philadelphia Region, will take on No. 10 seed and No. 19 Marist (31-2), which is the champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and dispatched Iowa State in the first round.
Then at around 9:45 in Albuquerque the No. 14 Tar Heels (27-8), seeded No. 5 in the Spokane Region, will face No. 17 Kentucky (25-8) which has the No. 4 seed in the region. Kentucky needed overtime to dismiss MEAC champion Hampton in the first round on Saturday.