I don't know when an opponent last racked up over 100 points in Cameron - if I had to guess I'd say the 1995 UNC team that beat the Gaudet crew in what, double overtime? - but this is surely the most enjoyable. All the talk will be about Lawson's second half performance, but he's almost always good for an excellent game. It's the rest of the team I was impressed with.
Too often this year the game has been carried solely by a combination of Hansbrough, Lawson, Ellington and Green, or worse only a subset of those players. Opposing teams have twigged to that, and are spending more time doubling down on and frustrating those four than tackling the team as a whole. It was definitely Duke's plan; it's no coincidence that Deon Thompson and Bobby Frasor were the scoring leaders for the Heels during the first half. Forced to play an entire, deep, UNC team Duke just couldn't keep up. By the second half they were gasping for air and Ed Davis was making offense changing plays in the paint. Lawson, spelled in the first half for stretches by Larry Drew who kept the team on even keel, had bursts of energy the Blue Devils couldn't match. He tore through them like they were standing still and driving most of the 14-0 run late in the second that pulled the Heels away for good.
Four straight wins at Cameron. With the turnover in college basketball, there won't be that many players at UNC next season who have played with guys who have lost in Durham. There's no fear there. Thompson and Davis both, 60% free throw shooters that they are buried four from the line in the faces of a screaming crowd. Neither of the freshman seemed lost for long - only Drew when he kept losing his footing on the wet Duke floor - and Thompson was positively gleeful for most of the first half.
It wasn't a perfect game; the offense gave up too much in the first half, and I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Scheyer and Paulus had kept their hot hands after the break, but the team played smart, extremely well, and was rewarded with a near rout. If they keep improving like they have in recent weeks, there will be few teams in the country that can even keep pace.