CHAPEL HILL - It had been a memorable afternoon for Gerald Henderson. The freshman had scored a career-high 16 points and at times single-handedly kept Duke in the game.
The day, however, turned into one Henderson would never forget with 14.5 seconds remaining and North Carolina comfortably ahead by 12.
Tyler Hansbrough rebounded a Bobby Frasor missed free throw and went up strong for the follow. Henderson appeared to attempt to block Hansbrough's shot but instead struck the UNC forward in the nose with his arm, igniting a spurt of blood down Hansbrough's face and the ire of the Tar Heel faithful.
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Henderson was called for an intentional foul and, after the referees reviewed video of the foul, ejected from the game.
"By rule, this is a flagrant foul for combative and confrontational action," read a statement released by referees Les Jones, Karl Hess and Jamie Luckie after the game. "It is ruled a fight. By rule, it is an automatic ejection. By NCAA rule, he must sit out next game."
After the foul, Hansbrough quickly got back on his feet with blood pouring down his face. The sophomore looked ready to turn the scuffle into an all-out brawl before he was restrained by his teammates.
Fans rained boos on Henderson and the Blue Devils while the referees deliberated his fate-at one point chanting "Go to Hell, Duke!" The Dean Dome erupted when Henderson was officially ejected and escorted into the locker room.
"Tyler pumpfaked, got our guys in the air, and I came down on him," Henderson said. "It was unfortunate that it turned out like it did. I wasn't trying to hurt the kid or anything. It just turned worse than it was."
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski did not believe the foul was intentional and hoped the ACC would review the play before issuing a suspension.
Reached late Sunday night, ACC Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officials John Clougherty said, however, that the decision is final and Henderson will not play Thursday against N.C. State.