Duke and North Carolina were separated by a single game in the ACC standings heading into Sunday; little did Duke know it, but they nearly had a chance to tie the Tar Heels again. However, games against Boston College and Miami, respectively, ended the wrong way for the Devils.
Boston College 80, Duke 74: The same problems that have plagued the Blue Devils all season -- point guard play as well as lack of an inside presence -- came into play again Sunday afternoon.
Another problem, the ability to close teams out, was acknowledged by Gerald Henderson after the game:
"You can't mess around. If you have a team down you have to step on their throats," Henderson said. "That's been a problem with us this year - we haven't approached leads like that, so we need to change that."
Of course, the bigger problem again is at the point position. Greg Paulus played a whopping 25 minutes but only registered two points, two assists and dealing with four fouls. Additionally, Tyrese Rice was nearly unstoppable, hitting big shot after big shot down the stretch en route to 21 points, six boards and six assists. Joe Trapani, held to just five points in a loss to Clemson, posted 20 in 37 minutes while adding five blocks and seven boards.
North Carolina 69, Miami 65: The fact that Miami was 14-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points didn't seem to bother the Tar Heels, even though Jack McClinton, with 35 points last night, was a pretty big thorn. In the end though, it was Ty Lawson who again looked like Carolina's MVP and -- despite being sick -- managed to score 21 points while dropping what amounted to the game winning three pointer with just over 10 seconds remaining. Miami's a dangerous team, obviously, but the Tar Heels holding on gave them a two game ACC lead and seemingly, based on their remaining schedule, locked sights on this year's conference title.
Elsewhere: Arizona State, behind Jeff Pendergraph's double-double, helped kick Southern Cal a little further off the bubble. Virginia managed to really honor Sean Singletary, upsetting No. 12 Clemson at home. Nationally ranked Butler stumbled for the second time in two weeks, despite Matt Howard's 30 points, as they head into a February 21 matchup with Davidson, this time to Loyola-Chicago and Jordan Hicks, who poured in 23 for Loyola. Illinois took care of Indiana by double figures in a game that should really be more important.
Onion Peels: Duke, Carolina Have Similar Sunday Games, Different Endings originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Mon, 16 Feb 2009 11:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.