Without the roster's tallest player, Brian Zoubek, Duke relied on a fast paced, perimeter focused offense to counter a tremendous effort by ACC Preseason Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough who was a one-man wrecking crew inside. The junior big man scored a game high 28 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a losing effort.
However it seemed as though every basket scored inside by the Tar Heels was answered with a three pointer from Duke. All told the Blue Devils hit 13-of-29 from the perimeter led by Paulus' 6-of-8 performance.
Sophomore Jon Scheyer added 17 points off the bench along with six rebounds while freshman big forward Kyle Singler chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Gerald Henderson, a target of the UNC fanbase throughout the night, added 12 points and seven boards, while senior captain DeMarcus Nelson finished with 13.
Predicted to be susceptible to Duke's high pressure man-to-man defense coming into the game, North Carolina's exposure was compounded without starting point guard Ty Lawson, who sat out with a high ankle sprain. Without Lawson the Tar Heels committed 20 turnovers - six by senior point guard Quentin Thomas.
Now holding a two game lead on the Tar Heels and sporting a perfect 8-0 league record (20-1 overall), Duke appears to be the favorite to land the coveted #1 seed in the East Region in the NCAA Tournament.