The independent news organization of Duke University

Henderson excels despite hostility

CHAPEL HILL - Gerald Henderson expected taunts and jeers for elbowing Tyler Hansbrough the last time the two Tobacco Road rivals squared off at the Dean E. Smith Center. But the sophomore couldn't quite anticipate the "Wanted" posters that he saw in North Carolina's student section.

"I thought that was pretty interesting," said Henderson, who scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his long-awaited return. "But I just go out there and play. I can't really worry about everything they're saying, I just have to focus on the game."

The heckles, however, seemed to affect Henderson in the first half, as he scored just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in the opening period. But the forward bounced back after the intermission. He posted 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including two emphatic dunks to quiet the crowd. Henderson also picked up two blocks, one of which came on an attempted jam from the All-American Hansbrough.

"We get booed, they get booed, too. But there wasn't anything malicious," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I think Wayne Ellington in the time since last year did a great job, because him and [Henderson] are like brothers, and I told him that after the game."

Henderson attended high school with Ellington, one of his best friends. But Ellington failed to match Henderson's output Tuesday night.

UNC's sophomore sharpshooter finished a dreadful 3-of-14 from the floor, including an 0-for-6 clip from 3-point range. Ellington entered the contest averaging 16.2 points per game, but posted only eight Wednesday, his third-lowest output of the year.

On perhaps his most important miss of the night, Ellington attempted a 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining with a chance to cut Duke's lead to five. The shot rattled around the rim and seemed to go down until it popped back up and out of the net. It was that type of night for North Carolina's second-leading scorer.

"The ball just wasn't staying in the basket," North Carolina forward Deon Thompson said. "Wayne had some balls go all the way in the basket and come all the way out."

Discussion

Share and discuss “Henderson excels despite hostility” on social media.