The first two contests during tonight’s NC Pro Am games at North Carolina Central were relatively quiet. That would soon change as Jerry Stackhouse would suit up for the first time with a cast of Tar Heels. The undefeated Regulators would face the winless E-Net led by Duke freshman Elliot Williams and walk-on Steve Johnson.
Stackhouse, of course, sponsors the tournament and the word is that more ex pros will trickle in over the next two weeks. Joining Stackhouse were rising UNC senior Danny Green and incoming freshman Ed Davis.
The game started off a bit slow as Stackhouse drained a three. Few fans who have watched the games figured Team E-Net had a chance, but as the half went on they hung in the game early in the first half taking a one point lead at 16-15. Shortly thereafter, the fun began.
Elliot Williams jumped out on Danny Green on the far baseline and forced the ball off his leg with smothering defense. This brought the Duke fans to life as cheers echoed throughout the arena. Shortly thereafter Green faked by Williams for a score which brought oohs and ah’s from the Tar Heel contingent.
Several big plays ensued, be it a dunk or a block. Stackhouse showed his light blue blood getting a little riled after a few big plays from the Dukies. Ed Davis also stepped up and looked really good on the glass. Steve Johnson scored six points and is fundamentally sound ina many areas of the game.
Toward the end of the half, Williams stole the ball (one of four) and went to the rim to dunk, but Green would have none of that challenging him and getting the block but also the foul as time expired in the half. He also got an elbow in the mouth, blood streaming to the point where he covered his mouth with a towel and sat out the second half.
It was in no way intentional on either players part. Williams hit the deck hard and Green came away with the elbow. The fans enjoyed the mini Duke-UNC rivalry and several seriously hard plays. Green had nine points and shook hands in a show of sportsmanship with Elliot after the game.
During one sequence, Johnson and Williams both had steals and dunks back to back. Elliot again showed the ability to take his man off the dribble and finish with the dunk. He had one play where he blew past Stackhouse for a rim rattling dunk. He struggled a bit from the outside, but again, showed the ability to pass the ball garnering a few assists. Williams ended the game with 21 points.
Former N.C. State star, Josh Powell was the game’s leading scorer with 26, but he was literally all E-Net had down low and this coupled Stackhouse’s experience made for an easy 73-58 win down the stretch. Still the game was closer than that score indicates. Stackhouse had 12 points and Ed Davis added 14.
In the nightcap, the Barnstormers rattled Team KG 70-58. Kyle Singler had his usual all around game, playing the entire game for his depth shy team. Kyle ended the game with 17 points and as usual was vital in his team’s win.
Olek Czyz, called O.C., scored just 8 points tonight with 4 coming off his patented dunks. There were times when he got lost on the court tonight and he will have to position himself better and more importantly know where to be on the court in sets. Olek signed autographs for adoring fans who’ve come to love his uncanny athletic ability.
Nolan Smith had a quiet 14 points, and seemed to favor his knee. He played sparingly at times due to the nagging problem. This was his first time back after sitting out last Thursday. The three Dukies have led their team to second place in the standing with just one loss.
Duke PG Greg Paulus and Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis were in the house to watch their school mates. Miles Plumlee is listed on a roster but didn’t make the early game. Paulus attended the game with his brother who plays for the UNC football team.
The games continue this Thursday at 6:00. The last game tips at 9:00. Here is the Pro Am’s official website where you can check the schedules, gametimes and stats. Admission is free.