It seems like the Duke Blue Devils are gaining momentum at the perfect time with back-to-back wins against top 10 teams. Duke was already thin, and they eventually lost starting guard Matt Jones in the first half to an ankle injury. That did not quell the fight in the team from Durham as Duke silenced the UNC fans with the 74-73 victory.
Duke Holds Off North Carolina In Waning Seconds
Grayson Allen led all Duke scorers with 23 points and also knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:09 left to give Duke the lead. Freshman Brandon Ingram had 20 points and 10 boards for the Blue Devils.
North Carolina's Brice Johnson led all scorers with a game-high 29 points on 13-17 from the field and 19 rebounds. Justin Jackson had 13 points and 8 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who were just one basket away from winning at home.
North Carolina had the ball in their hands in the final seconds with a chance for the game-winner. Then, Duke freshman Derryck Thornton blocked Joel Berry II's shot, and Grayson Allen got the final rebound and threw the ball in the air when the clock hit 0:00.
North Carolina led by 8 at the 7 minute mark, but their offense just faltered down the stretch, allowing Duke to scratch and claw their way back into the game. Tar Heel guard Marcus Paige finished with just seven points on 2-10 shooting and 0-6 from beyond the arc.
Blue Devils Use Grit To Grab Win
Luke Kennard played extended minutes after Jones left the game and ended up with 15 points, including some clutch shots down the stretch for Coach K's group. The Blue Devils now improve to 20-6 overall and 9-4 in the ACC, while North Carolina falls to 21-5 overall and 10-3 in the conference.
North Carolina actually had more rebounds, more assists, more blocks, and a better overall field goal percentage on the night. Duke did out-shoot them from the 3-point line, where the Blue Devils shot 36 percent to the Tar Heels' .077 percent.
The lack of touches from Brice Johnson did Carolina in at the end. For their best player, he didn't receive many looks in the final ten minutes, only scoring two points
Ramifications And Look Ahead
Duke has won their last three games, all against ranked teams, by a total of 9 points. With one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball, the Blue Devils are catching fire at just the right time.
This rivalry never fails to disappoint, and it won't be the last time these two meet this season. The last regular season game for both of these teams will be on March 5th against each other, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.