No. 18 Duke defeated No. 8 North Carolina 86-78 in a tightly contested rivalry matchup. The score went back-and-forth the entire game, but the Blue Devils were able to hold off the Tar Heels late and come away with the huge win.
Before the game we outlined the keys to victory for the Blue Devils, and Duke excelled in all three areas. They outrebounded on of the top rebounding teams in the country 31-30. Duke recorded 15 assists on 30 field goals led by Jayson Tatum with five. The Blue Devils also limited their mistakes and executed late in the game when UNC took the lead late, and it was actually the more experienced Tar Heels who made errors that Duke was able to capitalize on.
It was a complete team effort for Duke, who had four players finish with double figures. Grayson Allen led the game in scoring with 25 points shooting 9-15 from the field. Luke Kennard added 20 points for the Duke Blue Devils and Jayson Tatum contributed 19. Tatum had one of his best performances of the year finishing with a well-rounded 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, and scored all of his points in the second half. Additionally, freshman guard Frank Jackson had a very underrated performances recording 11 points without missing a FG and 0 turnovers.
The win gives the Blue Devils their fourth straight victory and keeps them in the ACC hunt as the team moves to 19-5 and 7-4 in the conference. Duke continues to improve and increase the chemistry between players heading towards the postseason. Duke Basketball will be back in action on Saturday afternoon hosting the Clemson Tigers.
|Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images|
North Carolina vs. Duke 2017 final score: 3 things we learned as Grayson Allen powered Duke to victory
Duke-North Carolina never disappoints. After splitting the last 96 meetings with the exact same number of points, college basketball fans should have anticipated another great game. That’s exactly what happened.
Duke outlasted North Carolina in the final minutes to secure an 86-78 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The difference in the game was three-point shooting. Duke caught fire from behind the arc, making 13-of-27 attempts from deep, while Carolina shot only 4-of-12 from distance.
Junior guard Grayson Allen had one of his best games of the season for the Blue Devils. He poured in 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting from three-point range to pace the Duke offense. Luke Kennard added 20 points, while freshman wing Jayson Tatum chipped in 19 points in the win.
Carolina was led by junior stars Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II. Jackson finished with 21 points and five rebounds, while Berry added 15 points.
UNC was undone by shaky free throw shooting late in the second half. Carolina finished only 10-of-18 from the foul line on the night.
Duke moves to 19-5 with the win, while North Carolina falls to 21-5.
Here are three things we learned during Duke’s win.
1. Grayson Allen is finding himself
Allen began this season as the unanimous pick for the best player in college basketball. He just hasn’t lived up to the hype so far in his junior year, as his tripping incident against Elon has overshadowed a surprisingly underwhelming season.
Against UNC, Allen played like the star Duke was expecting all season. He led Duke with 25 points and his shooting kept Coach K’s offense afloat all night. His final shot, a dagger three with just over a minute left, essentially sealed the win for the Blue Devils.
2. North Carolina doesn’t have many holes
Even without starting big man Isaiah Hicks, who was ruled out just before tip-off, Carolina showed off a balanced attack that should be the envy of almost every team in the country.
Even after a loss, Carolina should still like its chances in March if it can enter the tournament healthy. Hanging with a team as talented as this Duke squad on the road is no small feat.
3. Duke’s freshmen are ready for the big stage
Duke’s freshmen class was supposed to be one of the best ever, but the four-man class hasn’t had a huge impact so far. That changed on Thursday against UNC.
Tatum was a stud all night, finishing with all 19 of his points in the second half. Freshman guard Frank Jackson also added 11 points, while Harry Giles went 3-of-3 from the field in the win.
Grayson Allen helps Duke outlast UNC in Durham 86-78
Grayson Allen has been forced to simply watch his Duke teammates play a couple of times this season.
The last time, six weeks ago when he was serving a suspension at Virginia Tech, wasn’t fun at all.
“Virginia Tech just killed us,” Allen said.
On Thursday night, even as he scored 25 points to lead No. 18 Duke against No. 8 North Carolina, fouls meant Allen had to watch for two important stretches late in the second half.
What he saw this time allowed an easy smile to cascade across his face.
That’s because Luke Kennard scored 20 points, Jayson Tatum had all 19 of his points in the second half and freshman reserve guard Frank Jackson scored 11 as Duke pulled away in the final five minutes to beat the Tar Heels 86-78 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“I didn’t think guys were nervous out there,” Allen said. “I thought they were themselves.”
Suddenly, after a sometimes tumultuous season, the Blue Devils felt comfortable, and they looked it when the game was on the line.
Allen made seven 3-pointers, including a key one with 1:16 left that put Duke up 80-75. But he fouled out 14 seconds later, and the Blue Devils (19-5, 7-4 ACC) needed more heroes.
UNC (21-5, 9-3) trailed 80-77 when Tatum missed a 3-pointer. But Duke’s Matt Jones dived on the floor to grab the bouncing ball for a key offensive rebound that UNC coach Roy Williams called the play of the game.
Freshman Frank Jackson was fouled and hit a free throw with 26.9 seconds left giving Duke an 81-77 lead. Tatum added two more free throws with 16 seconds as Duke protected the lead, won its fourth game in a row and tightened up the ACC race.
“It’s really cool to see a couple of the young guys step up tonight,” Kennard said. “It was really huge. It was huge. We all grew up tonight. We were all together and we were all tough.”
In another epic chapter of the rivalry, the game featured 17 lead changes and nine ties. UNC trailed by eight points early in the second half only to fight back and build a 64-59 lead with 11:16 to play.
“When we lost the lead, when they took the lead, the game could have been over,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Instead, our team got really tough and we were able to pull it out.”
UNC played without 6-9 senior forward Isaiah Hicks, who injured a hamstring in practice on Wednesday. His absence helped Duke win the rebounding edge, 32-31, against a UNC team that is one of the nation’s top rebounding teams.
The Tar Heels hurt themselves at the free-throw line, making just 10 of 18. That included a subpar 8-of-15 in the second half.
“And one of those was a one-and-one so it’s really 8-of-16,” Williams lamented.
Justin Jackson scored 21 points to lead UNC, but he made just one field goal over the game’s final 12 minutes. Joel Berry added 18 points for the Tar Heels.