The annual Duke-UNC matchup in Cameron Indoor Stadium tends to bring out the biggest name in sports media—and no, we’re not talking about ESPN, um, personality Stephen A. Smith, sitting adjacent to the Tar Heel bench. So what did the best of newspaper reporters come up with? Let’s take a look.
The (Raleigh) News & Observer takes the prize for most representatives in Cameron Indoor Stadium, sending four scribes to cover one of the area’s biggest sporting events of the year. Duke beat writer Ken Tysiac wrote the game story, UNC reporter Robbi Pickeral penned a Tar Heel-themed sidebar of notes and J.P. Giglio contributed updates for ACC Now. Columnist Luke DeDock, not Duke-UNC veteran Caulton Tudor, wrote the newspaper’s column, focusing on North Carolina’s defense on a night the Tar Heels scored 101 points:
DURHAM — The way North Carolina can score, the Tar Heels don’t have to play great defense. It only has to be good enough.
For five minutes of the second half, it was good enough to slow down Duke on a night the Devils couldn’t miss. It was good enough to give Carolina its fourth straight win at Cameron and the inside track for the ACC title.
The Heels outran Duke in the 101-87 win, but the Heels don’t win that game without turning up the defense late in the second half, holding the Blue Devils without a point for more than four minutes and without a field goal for more than five after they went shot-for-shot with the Heels in the first half.
The Herald-Sun’s Bryan Strickland and Jack Daly had the misfortune of sitting next to The Chronicle’s two reporters, but they didn’t let that affect their coverage. Strickland pinpointed Duke’s inability to live up to its first half performance, and Daly, the Tar Heel beat writer, led with Hansbrough bookending his college career with another backbreaking 3-pointer in Cameron—and to be fair, the shot had “lede” written all over it.
DURHAM — Tyler Hansbrough has always said the 3-pointer he hit at Cameron Indoor Stadium his freshman year is the favorite shot of his career.
It might be too soon to say his latest long-range effort has replaced that at the summit of his mountain of personal highlights.
But it’ll be close.
Especially considering his pump-fake 3-pointer from right in front of the North Carolina bench with 2 seconds left on the shot clock Wednesday night not only sealed the Tar Heels’ 101-87 victory over Duke, but it clinched four years of perfection for himself and Danny Green at a steamy Cameron.
“I think it’s right up there with it,” Hansbrough said with a large grin. “It was a big shot — the clock was winding down. I wasn’t scared to shoot it.”
Enough about the local media, though, with press row stuffed with national writers flying in from all over the country New York. Or, as SI.com’s Luke Winn referred to it today, a “media all-star team shoulder-to-shoulder in press row.” ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil led with the scene of Hansbrough sitting in the locker room, and just a few grafs later, came up with this gem:
And for four years, Hansbrough walked out to the most deafening noise of all: silence.
On Wednesday night, when Hansbrough boarded the bus for his final 8-mile ride between Duke and UNC, his blue-wigged and blue-chested tormentors shuffled out quietly while he waltzed into history, standing alongside teammate Danny Green as the first classmates to go 4-0 at Cameron Indoor against Mike Krzyzewski-coached teams.
“Crickets,” Green said. “We heard crickets. When you leave a game on the road and you hear crickets, you know you did your job.”
SI.com’s Seth Davis—a Chronicle alum who put up wth our badgering him with questions all night—wrote about Ty Lawson, as I did in The Chronicle’s game story. He was the one to ask Mike Krzyzewski just how good Lawson was Wednesday, but Davis found an anecdote no one else seemed to notice amid the jersey-popping in the last few seconds:
DURHAM, N.C. — As the last few seconds of North Carolina’s 101-87 win over Duke ticked away Wednesday night, the ball was, fittingly, in the hands of Ty Lawson, North Carolina’s 5-foot-11 junior point guard. When the horn sounded, Lawson raised his arms, smiled gleefully at the Duke student section behind him and delivered an emphatic parting shot. “F— you!” he shouted.