Duke hammers UNC from the opening tip

North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston (left) guards Duke’s Ryan Kelly during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Photo by Associated Press

This latest Battle of the Blues didn’t turn out to be much of a battle at all.

Duke scored the game’s first 14 points and never looked back Saturday in rolling to an impressive 69-53 victory over rival North Carolina at the Smith Center.

Seth Curry did most of the early damage by scoring 18 of his 20 points in the first half. Mason Plumlee put the finishing touches on a dominant effort by hitting for 15 of his 23 points after the intermission as the third-ranked Blue Devils won for the seventh time in the past nine meetings with the Tar Heels.

Duke (27-4, 14-4) also beat UNC on Feb. 13, rallying from behind in the second half to claim a five-point victory.

This one was never in doubt.

The Tar Heels (22-9, 12-6) had won six straight since that loss, but its smaller lineup was no match for the taller Blue Devils – especially offensively. UNC made just nine of 33 shots in the first half and didn’t hit its first 3-point basket until the final five minutes of the game.

James Michael McAdoo, the only big man on the court for the Tar Heels, finished with 15 points.

Duke, meanwhile, made its first six field goal attempts and shot 69 percent from the floor in the first half to build what turned out to be an insurmountable 42-24 lead at the break. It extended the margin to as much as 23 points with 10 minutes remaining.

UNC was never able to get closer than 62-49 on P.J. Hairston’s 3-pointer with exactly 5:00 remaining.

%d bloggers like this: