No. 18 Duke outlasts No. 8 North Carolina
- Author: Larry Hoffman Feb 12, 2017,
Feb 12, 2017, 4:41
The teams have met a total of 242 times in their storied past, with UNC winning 134 to Duke's 108.
Cameron Indoor Stadium- Even though all of Duke's 9,314 fans did their part tonight, it was Duke's 3 headed monster of Kennard, Allen, and Tatum that led the way as the Blue Devils edged out arch nemesis UNC, 86-78 in a nail biter. "We look each other in the eye", Tatum said through swallows of his post-game strawberry-banana smoothie.
Toughness and togetherness ruled the night.
"I think we're a pretty good team and we're struggling a little bit right now", Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. Grayson Allen-who will again most likely be the X-factor in this game for Duke-made five threes in Saturday's game against Pittsburgh, and was 4-5 from deep in the second half.
He led Duke with 25 points and his shooting kept Coach K's offense afloat all night.
Allen led the team with 25 points and 7 three pointers, pushing Duke to a 19-5 record and bringing them back into the ACC title race.
Sophomore Mariella Fasoula added great defense and inside play, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds and a block.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the 2016-2017 Blue Devils have been reliant on their perimeter threats to set the tone.
"That was big and important for us, rebounding, because they're so big", Tatum said. Carolina's Joel Berry II took off on a fast break with 19 seconds to play, trailing by four.
Duke: Suddenly, the Blue Devils have a marquee victory on their NCAA Tournament resume. The Tar Heels share first place in the ACC with Florida State with Virginia a half-game back. The difference in the end was that the younger team executed like a veteran one and the experienced unit, the No. 8 Tar Heels, faltered.
Even when Allen picked up his fourth foul with 8:35 left and the game tied at 66, the Blue Devils still managed to forge a 75-71 lead without him. "I was nervous in the first half, but the second half, I got it all out of the way".
Lindsey Sparrow and Greg Barnes address UNC's inability to close high level games, its defensive weaknesses and Isaiah Hicks's absence - and how the Tar Heels need to bounce back when heading to Raleigh on Wednesday. It is a team game, but for UNC to grab a win at Cameron for the second straight season, Berry must rise above the rest.
Allen's also become just the third player in program history to hit at least six 3-pointers in consecutive games, joining Jason Williams and Trajan Langdon.
I understand that much of the general public despises Allen.
The fact that they were already looking ahead in the moments after their most disheartening defeat of the season rather dwelling on the events that had just taken place, is a positive sign considering the gauntlet that awaits them over the final four weeks of the regular season. He sprang up for a dunk on Kennedy Meeks for his first basket, and he unleashed for 19 points to help push Duke.