Duke chews up Tar Heels on Tobacco Road
Durham, NC (Sports Network) – Luol Deng poured in a career-high 25 points as
No. 3 Duke prevailed 70-65 over 14th-ranked arch-rival North Carolina in a
battle of ACC heavyweights at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
J.J. Redick scored 15 points for the Blue Devils (25-4, 13-3 ACC), who
rebounded from last Wednesday’s loss to Georgia Tech that saw their 41-game
homecourt winning streak come to an end. Chris Duhon chipped in 12 points and
Daniel Ewing added 11 in the win on “Senior Night.”
Duke, which defeated the Tar Heels for the 14th time in the last 16 meetings,
will go into the upcoming ACC Tournament as the conference’s top seed. The
Blue Devils, who have won the ACC regular-season title in six of the last
eight years, have won four of their last five games overall.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “They
just need to rest and close this chapter of the season. Come back Monday 0-0
and get ready for Greensboro.”
Deng rebounded from his worst game in his short collegiate career as he hit
12-of-16 from the field. In Wednesday’s outing against the Yellow Jackets,
Deng made only 1-of-14 shots and scored three points.
“All I did was put [the Georgia Tech game] behind me,” said Deng. “I couldn’t
do anything to bring it back except improve from it. Wednesday I kind of
rushed into my shots and didn’t let the game come to me. That’s how I feel
about it. But today I just let it come slowly, and I had good looks.”
Rashad McCants scored 20 points and Sean May added 14 and a game-high
15 rebounds for the Tar Heels (18-9, 8-8), who had their two-game winning
“If you like college basketball, you had to enjoy that [game],” said North
Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
North Carolina will enter the ACC Conference Tournament as the fifth seed and
could potentially meet up with Duke in a blockbuster semifinal encounter.
The game marked the 217th all-time meeting between the schools, which is
widely considered the fiercest rivalry in all of sports. North Carolina still
leads the series 123-94.
Duke trailed by three at the intermission, but it started the second half on a
6-0 run to grab a 36-33 advantage. Deng scored four of the points and Duhon
added a basket during the early flurry.
The Tar Heels battled back and McCants’ basket with 14:21 remaining gave them
a 42-40 lead. Duke again used a run later in the half as Redick capped a 5-0
surge with a deep three to give it a 50-46 edge.
May’s basket with 7:36 left tied the game at 54-54 and the teams then traded
baskets. However, Duke responded by scoring six straight points, capped by
Duhon’s scoop shot, to claim a 62-56 lead with 3:42 remaining.
Melvin Scott ended the Tar Heels’ scoring drought as he drained a three with
just over three minutes left to bring them within three points. After a Redick
layup, David Noel hit two free throws to make it 64-61 with 2:48 left.
Deng then gave Duke a five-point cushion with his jumper and after McCants
missed the front end of a 1-on-1, Ewing hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to
widen the lead to 67-61 with 1:46 left.
McCants then hit two free throws at the other end to again bring North
Carolina within four points, but Deng was fouled with 1:04 left with only two
seconds left on the shot clock. The freshman made one free throw to stake Duke
to a 68-63 lead.
The Tar Heels closed within three again at 68-65 on McCants’ layup and then
forced Ewing to miss a three-pointer from the right corner as the clock was
winding down. Noel grabbed the rebound with 14 seconds left, but McCants
slipped and lost the ball. Redick fell on the loose ball and quickly called
timeout with 3.9 seconds remaining.
On the inbounds, Redick received the ball and was immediately fouled. The best
free throw shooter in the country then sealed the win with two free throws.
“I’m proud of our team because they beat a really good basketball team,” said
Krzyzewski. “Again just like the first game, this [game] was hard, clean,
good. Outstanding. It lived up to all the hype of what a Duke Carolina game
North Carolina jumped out to an 11-5 lead on McCants’ three-pointer with 12:35
left in the first half, but the Blue Devils countered with a 9-0 surge, capped
by Deng’s two-handed dunk, to seize a three-point lead.
The Tar Heels bounced back and tied the contest at 16 apiece on McCants’ three
with 9:35 left in the half. North Carolina grabbed the lead four minutes later
on a three-pointer by Jackie Manuel and widened the gap to 25-22 on Jawad
Williams’ runner with 5:01 left in the opening period.
Duke again responded as it used a 6-0 surge, keyed by four from Duhon, to grab
a 28-25 lead. However, the Tar Heels closed out the first half by going on an
8-2 spurt and they led 33-30 at halftime.
McCants scored 13 points for North Carolina, which hit on 12-of-35 attempts in
the first half (34 percent). Deng had 10 points to pace the Blue Devils, who
connected on 48 percent of their shots in the opening 20 minutes (14-of-29).