Lawson leads No. 3 past No. 6 Duke, 101-87
DURHAM – Ty Lawson helped Tyler Hansbrough make it four in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium, while keeping himself perfect against North Carolina's most despised rival.
Duke's Gerald Henderson (15) defends as North Carolina's Deon Thompson (21) shoots during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. [Agencies]
Lawson scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half, and No. 3 North Carolina rallied past No. 6 Duke 101-87 on Wednesday night.
Hansbrough scored 17 points - and hit another late 3-pointer - for the Tar Heels (22-2, 8-2), who became the first team in nine seasons to hit triple digits against Duke.
They came on strong down the stretch, using late runs of 25-11 and 14-0 to first take the lead for good and then stretch it to 17. In the process, they snapped the Blue Devils' 14-game home court winning streak while claiming first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
Wayne Ellington and Danny Green added 15 points apiece. Green and Hansbrough joined former Wake Forest standouts Tim Duncan and Rusty LaRue as the only players to beat Mike Krzyzewski four straight times on the Cameron court that now bears his name.
Kyle Singler scored 22 points and Jon Scheyer added 20 to lead Duke (20-4, 7-3), which kept up with the uptempo Tar Heels for about 30 minutes before spiraling to its fifth loss in six meetings with its hated rival located 8 miles down Tobacco Road.
Gerald Henderson finished with 17 points - but was just 1-for 9 in the second half for the Blue Devils, and that's when they let this one get away.
Duke led 56-48 in the early moments of the half before North Carolina took command, with Hansbrough hitting a short jumper with just under 18 minutes remaining. That started the Lawson-led 25-11 burst in which the efficient Tar Heels took the lead for good, coming away with points on 12 of 15 trips downcourt.
Then, Lawson gave North Carolina all the separation it needed a short while later, when he scored nine of the 12 straight points reeled off by the Tar Heels. His three-point play with 3:42 remaining put them up 88-71.
That came two possessions after Hansbrough pulled up over David McClure and knocked down a 3-pointer; three seasons ago, Hansbrough hit a 3 at Cameron that he still insists is his favorite shot.
That put the Tar Heels well on their way to their first 100-point performance in the rivalry since their thrilling double-overtime 102-100 victory in 1995, and made them the first visiting team to win here since they did it last March.
Nolan Smith added 11 points for Duke, which allowed 100 points for the first time since a 109-100 victory over Virginia in January 2000.
But for a while, it looked like the Blue Devils might be the first team to 100.
Duke shot 62 percent while coming on strong late during a first half that was rather miserable for the Tar Heels' top three players. Hansbrough, Lawson and Ellington were a combined 3-for-12 from the field, and Hansbrough, saddled with two fouls, was benched for the final 4:11.
Duke used a 22-5 run in which they hit 9-of-11 shots over a 5 1/2-minute span late in the first half - a run capped by Singler's baseline jumper with 4:55 remaining - to take a 40-34 lead.
The Blue Devils held North Carolina to two field goals over the half's final 7 1/2 minutes, then pushed their lead to 50-41 on Scheyer's free throw with 46.4 seconds left - the first time the Tar Heels allowed a team to score 50 in a half since December.
But that was well before they got back to the fast tempo that helped them take an early double-figure lead. North Carolina jumped out to a 20-10 lead roughly 5 1/2 minutes in after some remarkably efficient play in which it scored on 10 of 11 possessions.