Duke’s 85-66 blowout of Gardner-Webb on Monday night had a vibe similar to that of the vaunted Duke-North Carolina rivalry, but it had less to do with the play and more to do with the UNC fans who found their way into Cameron Indoor Stadium for some fun.
As the Blue Devils dismissed the Runnin’ Bulldogs, a couple of North Carolina fans rose up in the stands with "Free P.J." signs.
They were referring to P.J. Hairston, the UNC guard who has been suspended by North Carolina after the school said he was caught driving rental cars connected to a man known to be a convicted felon.
While the controversial situation may even draw an NCAA suspension, some fans would rather Hairston just be allowed back on the court. A couple of those fans showed their feelings on national television on Monday night, taking advantage of Duke’s game to hold up their signs.
A Duke fan sitting behind them was on the case, though, and managed to reach forward and yank away one of the signs within a few seconds. He cut the protest in half, grabbing the sign and throwing it away. Until the Blue Devils and Tar Heels play each other Feb. 12, that’s as good as this rivalry is going to get.