Paolo closes with a double double (13 points and 10 rebounds) for the first time in the Tobacco Road derby
The first time in the Tobacco Road derby is unforgettable for Banchero. Paolo’s Duke, the long top prospect of the next NBA Draft, overwhelms the historic rival North Carolina at Chapel Hill 87-67. The return journey by bus to the Durham campus, just 8 miles away, is a triumphal one. The Blue Devils, number 9 in the national university ranking, are now 19-3 records this season, and lead the Atlantic Coast Conference: 9 won and 2 lost, so far. Carolina risks not being selected for the Ncaa Tournament: she still has no prestigious victory to show in the résumé (16-7).
The last of K
Coach K was for once accompanied home by his wife Mickie Tar Heels. There was to celebrate the last on the field of the “enemies” of the historic Duke coach, since 1980 the face of the most divisive basketball program in America. Who, at 75, will retire at the end of the season. Here, he comes out with a bang from the Dean Smith Center. Better than this…
Paolo against Armando
Banchero faced another talented long man with an Italian name: Armando Bacot. He won the confrontation, which soon became indirect because given Bacot’s initial malaparata and fouls problems, Coach Davis changed his marking, putting Black on his trail. It worked. Paolo, who has Italian citizenship, finished in double doubles: 13 points and 10 rebounds, but shooting 5/14 and scoring several points per game already in the safe.
Thanks to the feats of the other freshman marvel, AJ Griffin, the son of art, of Adrian, a former player with an NBA past. The big boy, physical winger, flexible on both sides of the pitch, finished with 27 points, the highest of the season and therefore of his career. The 10-0 with which he started the second half, personal part, closed the game. He throws a 3, attacks the iron, defends strongly. If Banchero, always technical and “smooth” in his way of playing, struggled against the opponent’s physicality, Griffin seemed to go to a wedding. If anything, he crushed the Tar Heels in the head, ferocious.
There never was. Duke has never been under. A couple of initial baskets from Banchero started the immediate escape: 13-2 at the start, then even 31-8. Carolina returned to the game dragged by the triple of Manek, long white, classic 4 perimeter, limiting the damage, under 39-28 at the interval. But Griffin’s acceleration at the beginning of the second half removed all pathos from Espn’s national live TV. The Blue Devils are among the favorites for the next, now not far away, March Madness. Banchero will have the opportunity of a unique showcase and to make his mark in the history of a legendary basketball program. Duke only counts the trophies they can hoist on the ceiling of the Cameron Indoor Stadium, they are used to it. But dominating the derby away from home helps to leave an indelible memory and now Duke becomes a favorite in terms of final success in the Acc. A step at a time. There will then be time to seek glory in the Tournament… R
February 6, 2022 (change February 6, 2022 | 07:51)
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