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Friday, February 04, 2005

Flashes of Genius

Several plays stood out in Carolina's intense and disciplined game last night, not just for their athletic and aesthetic quality but for what they said about the players and the team.

Consider May's block of Hodge on the break, which showcased both May's improved conditioning and emerging fierceness of play. Or Noel's monster jams, the showboat move in open court and the late-game-through-the-crowded-lane crusher, an example of this team's deep-benched athleticism.

There were subtler moments, too: McCants, a maturing star, floating across the lane and hitting a soft jumper and making his free throws and dishing five assists and pumping up the crowd before the opening tip. Felten attacking the hoop and pulling the double-double. Quentin Thomas running the team for a nice small stretch of the second half.

And Marvin. Mercy.

The crowd was loud, for a while. Once State's mini-run was done fairly early in the second half, it was wine-and-cheese quiet, except for the occasional roar for an addition to the highlight reel. A couple of years ago, the Dean Dome saw a lot of red-clad fans for this game. Last night, it was Blue Heaven again.