The Daily Tar Heel

UNC vs. Duke

wednesday, february 10, 2010

7

BATTLE OF BLUE BLOOD
Senior struggles gnawing at Ginyard
BY mike ehRlich
SEnior WritEr

Best OF 100 Years
1974
UnC scores eight points in 17 seconds to send the game into ot, where the tar Heels eventually won 96-92.

CoUrtESy oF UnC AtHLEtiC CoMMUniCAtionS

arcus Ginyard sat hunched forward, waiting for a trainer to wrap his sore ankle. His eyes were cast downward, and his chin rested in his hands. Members of the media had already questioned the fifth-year senior about his team’s sixth loss in eight games, as well as his removal from the starting lineup. His answers were quiet and brief. “It’s frustrating.” “Coach is doing his job.” Ginyard looked weary, and not just because of 31 minutes on the court at Virginia Tech. This season has weighed heavily on every Tar Heel, but perhaps on none more than Ginyard. He has turned the ball over, struggled from the field and might have lost a step defensively while nursing foot and ankle injuries. And the same guy who was once upbeat and thoughtful in post-game interviews has been short and dismissive. Asked in a recent news conference what was bothering his veteran leader, UNC coach Roy Williams proposed another, perhaps more telling, question. “Physically or mentally?” ne play during that same Virginia Tech game epitomized Ginyard’s struggles. In one sequence, he had a dunk blocked but then made a great hustle play to steal the ball back — only to throw it away again. “Sometimes when things are tough, you don’t get many fortunate things to happen,” Williams said. “And that’s what it’s been for him.” Ginyard is shooting 43 percent from the field this season, and he’s averaging eight points per game. But ACC play has been a disaster. B e f o r e S u n d a y ’s g a m e a t Maryland, Ginyard had shot just

M

8-for-35 (23 percent) from the field and 2-16 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arc in conference play. He was averaging 3.3 points. In the two games before his brief subtraction from the starting lineup, he missed all eight of his shots, including five 3-pointers. “It’s been pretty rough on him right now,” senior Deon Thompson said. “Just outside expectations, his own expectations, trying to reach those.” There is no question that part of Ginyard’s trouble has been physical. But when his coach is wishing he’d majored in psychology instead of health and physical education, there might be a little more to it. Granted, the old Ginyard is still there. Behind the scenes, away from the court and the reporters, people still gravitate toward the fun-loving small forward. “He’s a marvelous kid,” Williams said. “When he walks in the room, you know what I do? I smile.” So what’s changed? Surely it’s the losing. At no other point in his career has his team underachieved this much. Maybe it’s a fifth year in Chapel Hill without longtime friends and roommates Tyler Hansbrough and Bobby Frasor. But Williams is no psychologist, and most fans and pundits aren’t, either. For them, all that matters is what happens between the baselines. “I get tired of worrying about somebody’s psyche,” Williams said. “I mean, my God, play the dadgum game. That’s what it boils down to.” f removing Ginyard from the starting lineup was supposed to send him a message, it might have gotten through. At Maryland, Ginyard tied a season high with 17 points on an aggressive 5-of-13 shooting. “You pick your head up and see that, hey, you’ve got eight more games, four more times in this gym,” Ginyard said. “Why go through the rest of that with your head down?” It’s clear that at times this season, basketball just ceased to be fun for Ginyard. But he says with a little perspective, he can escape from his funk and lift his spirits. Maybe his play will follow suit. Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.

1981 Gene Banks (20) had 25 points to lead a 66-65 upset of no. 11 UnC into ot, giving Coach K his first win in the series.

CoUrtESy oF UnC AtHLEtiC CoMMUniCAtionS

duke’s Jeff Capel hit a 30-foot heave to send the game into double ot, but Jerry Stackhouse and UnC pulled it out, 102-100.

1995

O

I

CoUrtESy oF UnC AtHLEtiC CoMMUniCAtionS

1998 duke rallies from a 17-point deficit to the tar Heels in the second half to earn Coach K his 500th career win.

dtH/FiLE

nation’s highest-scoring trio powers duke attack
BY DaviD ReYnolDs
SportS Editor

DURHAM — With shoulders slowly sliding down the back of his chair, Duke’s Jon Scheyer sounded almost embarrassed when answering a question on where he spent most of his time off the basketball court. “Sleep,” the senior point guard said, cracking a smile. Scheyer then paused to think what he would add to that proclamation, but ended up only justifying his one-word summary. “You know, lay around. Jon Scheyer has blossomed I don’ t go out much.” Scheyer said sheepishly, into the ACC’s second-leading careful to elongate every word. “It’s really exciting.” scorer this year. That relaxed version of Scheyer doesn’t match up with the beast ACC observers know best — the one who grimaces on a drive to the basket, slaps his hands on the floor on key defensive possessions and lets loose a loud scream during

an emotional high. But while Scheyer is able to balance his oncourt aggression with a sedentary personality off it, the offense he runs has yet to mimic the feng shui of its floor general. Scheyer, guard Nolan Smith and forward Kyle Singler provide nearly all of the offensive firepower for Duke, combining for nearly 55 points per game — the highest total of any three teammates in the country. No one else on Duke scores more than seven points per game. “The way we have to set up our team is that those three guys have to be put in prominent positions to score,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “If you have a team that has more balance, then you go to it. But this team has those three guys.” In addition to being the team’s leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, good enough for second-best in the ACC, Scheyer doubles as the Blue Devils’ leading distributor. During his first full season as Duke’s primary ball handler, he sports the conference’s best assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.1 and has averaged 5.6 assists. Smith also has flourished since moving off

the ball to shooting guard. He boosted his scoring average by just a shade under 10 points this season to 18.1 thanks to more freedom to roam without the ball on the perimeter. “All three of us work on scoring off each other and getting great looks,” Smith said. “We’re at the point where we’re so comfortable out there that scoring sometimes comes easily.” Smith and Scheyer’s success have relegated Singler, this year’s preseason ACC Player of the Year, to the third-leading scorer on his own team. But with a team-leading 311 attempts, he’s still Duke’s first option on offense. The trio does most of its work from behind the arc, where it has been devastating to opponents. The three have shot a combined 39 percent on 352 attempts from three. “You can’t stop them from getting their shots,” UNC forward Will Graves said. “You just try to cut down their percentage down, scream at them while they’re shooting.” Graves might want to hold off on that last part. On the court, Scheyer and Co. won’t be afraid to shout back. Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.

CoUrtESy oF UnC AtHLEtiC CoMMUniCAtionS

2004

duke’s Chris duhon made a reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left to lead the Blue devils to an 83-81 win.

dtH FiLE

2005 Marvin Williams tipped in a missed free throw with 17 seconds left to rally UnC to an epic 75-73 win in the Smith Center.
dtH FiLE

the LOwdOwn On tOnight’s game
no. 8 duke at north Carolina
Smith Center, 9 p.m.
Broadcast: raycom/ESpn radio: 1360 WCHL

Small forward

Lance thomas doesn’t give duke much in terms of scoring, but he’s a physical presence on defense. Marcus Ginyard’s play in recent weeks hasn’t been great, but his 17-point outburst against Maryland showed he has more potential to be a factor tonight. edge: marcus Ginyard

Bench

this figured to be a strength for UnC, but an injured tyler Zeller and disappointing production from its freshmen have dispelled that notion. But duke doesn’t get much production from its bench either. Singler, Scheyer and Smith each average 35 minutes. edge: north carolina

Point guard

Jon Scheyer was recently selected as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (nation’s top point guard), and with good reason. He’s averaging 18.9 points per game and has a 3.1 assistto-turnover ratio. Larry drew ii, meanwhile, has struggled in ACC play. edge: Jon scheyer

Power forward

Kyle Singler was named ACC preseason player of the year for a reason; he’s proven himself to be one of the conference’s premiere players and can score from anywhere. deon thompson is no slouch offensively, but Singler is in a different class. edge: kyle singler

Recent Play

though the Blue devils recently took it on the chin in a blowout loss to Georgetown, the tar Heels are in a full tailspin, losing six of their last seven games in ACC play. duke also won in its last outing. edge: Duke

Shooting guard

Will Graves may be UnC’s most consistent shooter, but his numbers have been dwarfed by nolan Smith. Smith is averaging almost twice as many points and has drilled a remarkable 44 percent of his three-point attempts. edge: nolan smith

Center

though Ed davis and Miles plumlee are not true centers (both are listed at forward), they fall to this position defensively. davis holds a huge talent advantage against plumlee in both scoring and rebounding, but plumlee will get rough down low. edge: ed Davis

Intangibles

Confidence is at an all-time low in Chapel Hill. it can’t get much worse for a team that went from the national championship to the ACC cellar. Well, maybe except for a lopsided loss on its home court to its biggest rival. edge: Duke

the Bottom Line — duke 81, north Carolina 71
CoMpiLEd By dAvid rEynoLdS

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