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No. 5 North Carolina beats No. 16 Duke, 79-73

Posted Thursday, February 8, 2007

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Durham, NC - Duke received a career-high 26 points from freshman Jon Scheyer but it wasn't enough as the 16th-ranked Blue Devils fell to fifth-ranked North Carolina, 79-73, on Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils fall to 18-6 overall and 5-5 in league play while the Tar Heels improve to 21-3 overall and 7-2 in the ACC. The game marked the 122nd consecutive game that at least one team was ranked in the AP national poll.

Duke got off to a good start, surging to a 15-6 lead four minutes into the game as Scheyer, Greg Paulus and Gerald Henderson each scored five points in the opening run. Two free throws by Paulus with 3:01 left in the half pushed the advantage to 10 at 37-27, but North Carolina closed with a 7-2 spurt to trail at halftime, 39-34.

DeMarcus Nelson's layup just over three minutes into the second stanza built Duke's lead back to 10 at 50-40, but the Tar Heels received six points from Tyler Hansbrough in a 12-2 run to tie the game at 52-52 with 9:43 remaining. North Carolina would take its first lead of the night when Reyshawn Terry scored to make the score 62-60 with 5:15 left. Duke would get to within one point at 64-63 on a layup by Henderson at the 4:04 mark, but Hansbrough answered with a jumper with 3:20 on the clock to push the lead back to three. The Blue Devils would get no closer the rest of the way.

Scheyer connected on eight-of-18 field goal attempts including a four-of-10 effort from three-point range. He sank six-of-eight foul shots, but had his streak of consecutive foul shots made come to a close at 40. Scheyer has made an impressive 47-of-51 free throws through 10 ACC games this year.

Three other Blue Devils joined Scheyer in double figures with Paulus netting 15, Henderson 14 and Nelson 12. Paulus added four assists against zero turnovers in 37 minutes of action. Josh McRoberts pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

For North Carolina, Brandan Wright had 19 points and nine rebounds while Hansbrough had 16 points. Terry posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Ty Lawson contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Duke lost back-to-back games to Virginia and Florida State and has its first three-game losing streak in a season since 1995. The Tar Heels, who have spent the entire season ranked among the top 10, were coming off a loss at North Carolina State last Saturday.

Duke travels to face Maryland on Sunday at 5 p.m.

North Carolina plays Wake Forest at home on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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No. 5 North Carolina beats No. 16 Duke, 79-73
UNC's Tyler Hansbrough had 16 points.
photo by Gene Galin