Sunday, March 9, 2008

A memorable night at Cameron Indoor

Referee Ted Valentine leaned over and picked up a fuzzy toy ram hanging from a noose that had dropped from the Duke student section onto the floor.

If you've seen Valentine up close, you know he's got a glare that could put a lump in the throat of even the most fearless Third World dictator. That glare surely caused some folks to sweat in the student section Saturday in an arena that already was stuffy.

That was just one of the many memorable moments in a breathtaking night of basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium. On the court, top-ranked North Carolina fell behind by two points after leading by 11 at halftime, but scored the final 10 points to win 76-68 and claim the No. 1 seed for the ACC tournament.

The scene around the game was almost as entertaining as the game itself. With the Blue Devil moving around on crutches, ESPN analyst and Duke alumnus Jay Bilas took the mascot's spot on the surfboard for the traditional length-of-the-court ride atop a sea of band members during a media timeout.

Peyton and Eli Manning sat next to Duke football coach David Cutcliffe on the baseline nearest the Duke bench. It's safe to guess that made an impression on some football recruits who were watching on ESPN.

When some calls didn't go Duke's way early in the game, Mickie Krzyzewski stood and shouted in the direction of the referees. Mickie is a coach's wife who knows her basketball. A week earlier, she appeared to be the one that noticed that N.C. State was allowed to send the wrong player to the free throw line after a timeout.

Surely there's no correlation between Mickie's protest Saturday and the fact that North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough didn't attempt a free throw in a game for just the second time in his career. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, mindful of avoiding a fine, tap-danced around the free throw issue after the game.

He said he was shocked that Hansbrough didn't get to the foul line, but then said the officials did a good job.

"At the end of the game both teams were frustrated because our fouls didn't put them on the free throw line and they couldn't put us on the free throw line," Williams said.

North Carolina forward Danny Green also didn't shoot free throws but scored 18 points and blocked seven shots to lead all scorers in 25 minutes off the bench. Green pulled out of a slump a couple weeks ago, and his play will be one of the keys to the Tar Heels' postseason success.

"With (Ty) Lawson back, (Carolina has) started playing four smalls now, with Green at the four," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It's real tough to put two bigs in there against that. Green played really well and he was a difference maker tonight."

The lasting memory of this game won't be Green's dunk over Greg Paulus or Duke's double- and triple-teams of Hansbrough. Throughout the night, the tragic shooting death of North Carolina student body president Eve Carson never was far from the minds of players, fans or coaches.

North Carolina guard Wayne Ellington said the players knew Carson was a big Tar Heel basketball fan, so the team wanted to play well in her memory.

Before the game, there was a moment of silence in Carson's honor. Players from both sides lined up across the width of the court during the national anthem, then met at the mid-court stripe to shake hands.

Williams thanked Krzyzewski and Duke for honoring Carson's memory.

"They initiated a lot of the things," Williams said. "We had the ribbons and Eve's name on our jerseys. To have a moment of silence and to have the teams come together before the game, I think it says a lot about college athletics, the ACC, and it says a heck of a lot about Duke University." -- Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Never mind that none of the Duke coaches wore the ribbons in Eve's honor, but that all the cheerleaders and ESPN announcers did.

Anonymous said...

By the way, what were the Duke coaches thinking? Their failure to wear the ribbon was insensitive and oh so visible to all those watching the game. This was a major lapse in good manners and showing respect.

Anonymous said...

It's always something with you Holes bandwagoners. The moment of silence at the VISITING court just wasn't enough for you.

Coach K...3

Anonymous said...

I wasn't paying attention to Rat face and what his coaches were wearing. I was too busy watching the "classy" acts of the speedo guy that the announcers had to apologize to the viewers for. They can't say anything about Danny Green's dancing. LOL And I love it when we spoil Duke's senior night. :) I do think it's great they had the moment of silence to remember Eve though.

Anonymous said...

The Houston Astros hat that Eve Carson's killer was wearing does have a gang affiliation. The “H” logo pays homage to Larry Hoover who was in various incarnations of the Black Gangster Disciples, which he founded. Throughout the 60’s Hoover created alliances and “nations” of gangs in the Chicago area. Lemaricus Davidson, the lead "accused" black slayer of Channon Christian and Chris Newsome was also a BGD-- and we know what THAT means--the murder of Eve Carson could not POSSIBLY have been racially motivated--lol.


VIDEO about her white-ribboned "memorial"-