Blue Devils Win Improbable OT Thriller at Dean Dome 98-96 | Tre Jones Goes for 28

In Game Results, Results/Thoughts by Brian HoraceLeave a Comment

Like any normal blogger, I try to do as much prep work as possible but I've never written a post before the end of the game. The Blue Devils were playing so badly and with such a lack of intensity and UNC with such focus, I had no inkling that the Blue Devils had anything left. Vernon Carey Jr. fouling out at the 4:16 mark sealed it for me. Well, I should have known the the best rivalry in sports would deliver a little something different, something extra. Well it most certainly delivered.

The Blue Devils were dead in the water, without their best offensive player on the court. Coach K went with a non-traditional lineup minus a big man. When Carey was disqualified the Blue Devils were down by 13. The Blue Devils, without Carey went on a 20 to 7 run. With 4.4 seconds left in regulation and Duke down 2 points, Tre Jones intentionally missed his second free throw and inexplicably is able to come up with the rebound, drives to the middle of the floor and sinks a mid-range jumper to push the game to overtime tied at 84-84.

Duke took the early lead in overtime by 5 points but the Tar Heels battled back to lead Duke by 5 with only 20 seconds left. In the waning moments of the overtime, Jones once again was at the free throw line with a chance to give Duke the 1 point lead with 6.6 seconds left. Jones missed the free throw, the ball was tipped out to Jordan Goldwire who alertly got the ball back to Jones. Jones took a contested mid-range jumper that missed everything but Wendell Moore caught the Jones missed and layed it in for the 2 point Duke victory 98-96. It was one of the wildest finishes in the rivalry's history and that is saying a lot.

Duke was paced by sophomore Tre Jones who put the Blue Devils on his back once Vernon Carey Jr., fouled out. Jones at one point scored 15 straight points for the Blue Devils. Jones finished with 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Cassius Stanley, before fouling out, scored 22 points for the Devils. Vernon Carey Jr. also fouled out for the Blue Devils and scored 18 with 6 rebounds. Wendell Moore, who scored the game winner for Duke, scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Tarheels were led by Cole Anthony's 24 points, Anthony also pulled down 11 rebounds. Garrison Books added 18 for the Tarheels and Armando Bacon added 12 points and 3 assists.

Duke was out-rebounded by the Heels 51 - 42,

UNC shot 55.3 % from the free throw line, leaving 17 points on the floor while the Blue Devils shot 76.6% for the game. Neither team shot over 25% from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils scored 27 points off of 18 UNC turnovers.

Team Notes

• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 40th season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,079-288 at Duke, and 1,152-347 overall in this, his 45th season overall.
• The game marked the 252nd meeting between Duke and North Carolina, with UNC leading the series 139-113, including 63-37 in Chapel Hill. Duke has won five of the last nine at the Smith Center.
• This season marks the 100th anniversary of the first Duke-UNC game, which was played January 24, 1920.
• Under Coach K, Duke leads the UNC series 48-44.
• The game was the 14th Duke-Carolina game all-time to be decided in overtime, with Duke leading 10-4 (5-2 under Coach K).
• The game marked Duke’s 130th all-time overtime game (70-60).
• Duke’s 98 points against Carolina marked its second-most against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, trailing only a 104-69 win on Feb. 29, 1964 at Wollen Gym.
• Duke has played three consecutive ACC games on the road and won all three. It is the first time the Blue Devils have done so since the 1978-79 season.
• Coach K is now 501-200 all-time in ACC games (regular season and tournament) and 189-118 in ACC road games – both win totals extend his ACC records.
• Duke has four players score in double figures for the 13th time this season.

Player Notes
• Sophomore Tre Jones scored a game-high 28 points, with 22 coming in the second half and overtime. His jumper at the buzzer sent the game to overtime.
• Jones scored 15 consecutive points for the Blue Devils – the final nine in regulation and Duke’s first six in overtime.
• Jones now has a 13-3 career record in road games, including 12-3 in road ACC games.
• Jones is averaging 17.9 points over Duke’s last nine games.
• Wendell Moore Jr.’s buzzer-beater in overtime came eight years to the day of Austin Rivers’ three-pointer at the buzzer to beat UNC, 85-84, at the Smith Center.
• Moore recorded his first career double-double with 17 points (tied his career-high) and a career-best 10 rebounds.
• Freshman Cassius Stanley was Duke’s second-leading scorer with 22. It was his fourth 20-point performance this season.
• Sophomore Joey Baker had three assists to tie his career high.
• Freshman Vernon Carey Jr. was Duke’s fourth in player in double figures with 18 points.

Next Game
• Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time in 13 days when it takes on No. 8 Florida State on Monday, February 10 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.


Opening Statement:

“Absolutely incredible game. To have an incredible game means you have great performances by both teams and Carolina was outstanding. I thought they were going to run us out of the gym; their crowd was great—I don’t know what’s happened [to them] the whole year, but they were Carolina tonight. They were fantastic. Our guys weathered the storm a few times—the foul trouble and we went small and Tre Jones was magnificent in leading us. We were fortunate they missed some free throws and we made ours, and Tre made some big-time plays… We feel very fortunate—obviously very happy—but totally respect the level of game this was and the level of our opponent. I thought in the overtime we got that five-point lead and then Cole [Anthony] made two great plays, and it looked like we ran out of gas and they went ahead. Then in the last minute of overtime we had this adrenaline push by our captain and we were able to win… Proud of my guys… Terrific win for us and I know it’s tough for them. I thought they played great—not good, they played great and Cole is every bit as good as everyone has said he is. He was a big-time player tonight.”

On adjustments after freshman Vernon Carey Jr. fouled out:  “We played some zone, we went small—we were having a tough time getting the ball into him anyway so we opened up the court to drive more and that worked for us… we were kind of cutting into the lead but Cassius [Stanley] and Wendell [Moore Jr.] had to guard big guys and they’re good athletes and they did, but then those guys had to guard them [Stanley and Moore]. We were fortunate that we didn’t stop them but they missed so it turned out well for us.”

On if the team practices intentional free-throw misses: “We talk about it but he [Tre Jones] made not a good play, that was an amazing play. That’s one of those clinic things. He was at another level tonight—we won because of that kid. I thought anything he did tonight might work. He was so good at time outs—we’re trying to get him to talk more and his positive talk, ‘we’re going to win; we’ve got this; you can count on me.’ The kids responded to him. We’ve been talking about it and now he learned it in combat, so-to-speak.”


On the play that led to his game-winning put back: “I happened to get a hand on the ball [following Tre Jones’ missed free throw]. The ball went out, J-Gold [Jordan Goldwire] went and got it, got it out to Tre and Tre shot a jump shot. I thought it was going in, but I just kept seeing the ball keep going, I just started to go get it and I tried to make a play on the ball and the ball went in.”

On what it means to be a part of an iconic moment in the Duke-North Carolina rivalry: “It really just means everything to me. [As] a kid growing up from Charlotte watching this game for 18 years of my life and getting a chance to be a part of it with a group of guys like this, and just the things we overcame this game meant everything to us. We knew this was a big game for us and this was a game that we had to win.”

On what sparked the comeback when Duke trailed by double digits: “It all started with Tre [Jones]. Tre had that look in his eye. When he had that look, we knew that we could follow him to victory. He led us there today.”


On if he dreamed about hitting a shot like his jumper to tie the game at the end of regulation: “A little bit. I didn’t dream about it – it [was] pictured in my head. Coach always talks about preparing for the moment and that’s a moment I wanted to be in is hitting a big shot like that in a big game like this.”

On if hitting a big shot like that felt better than he expected it to: “It’s always better when it happens. With Duke being my dream school since I could remember, always watching these rivalry games, seeing Austin Rivers hit a shot here when I was at one of my basketball tournaments going crazy, watching my brother do what he did against Carolina – I just wanted to put my name in a game like that and I feel like I might’ve done that today.”

On when he felt Duke could win the game: “Down the stretch in the second half, we were down, I attacked a few times, got a couple good looks and then for sure once we went into overtime, I knew we weren’t losing no matter what. I airballed two shots, they got a couple of their looks back, they had the momentum [and the] crowd back into it. We were able to still just come back and answer. I think that just speaks on the team that we have, the work that we put in. We showed how young we were a little bit there in the first half, I think, but the way we just fought in the second half, I feel like we grew up tonight.”


On if playing in a Duke-North Carolina game was everything he thought it would be: “It was more, honestly. Walking out there the first time for shootaround, you get booed immediately. That was real.”

On how difficult it was to get a win in the Smith Center:  “You saw it – it was very difficult. It was one of the most difficult games I’ve been a part of. It was unreal to win.”

On how it felt to get a win in his first Duke-North Carolina matchup: “It was great. We’re going to see them in a couple weeks and that’s going to be a good matchup. It was definitely great, and it’s always great to win on the road.”

On how confident the team feels going forward: “I think we feel pretty confident. We’re just worried about right now winning games in the ACC and trying to get the best record we possibly can.”


Opening Statement:  “I am not disappointed in our team or our effort. We could have played more intelligently, made more free throws, rebounded more of their free throws and all of the things that people will talk about. We also could have made some plays that would have been better in the first half. You have to congratulate them. If you don’t care who won the game, you had to enjoy that as a big time college basketball game. I care. So I did not enjoy that outcome. We made some mistakes at any point during the game. Tre made an unbelievably hard play, he’s a tough kid and someone I have a lot of respect for as a player and a young man, but he’s not on my team. We had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, and that in some ways has been our story every time, but it doesn’t make any difference. Duke’s locker room is very happy, and our locker room is crushed. I was mad at myself a few games ago for not fouling; we fouled today and it didn’t work out. I still think good things are going to happen for this team.”

On coming together as a team: “We need to play better and not make the same kind of mistakes we made. We’re on our own kind of streak right now, I think that’s three [losses] in a row. That’s not the kind of roll we want to be on. I told [the team] tonight, that’s the team that I thought I was going to have preseason. I can give you 89 things that are easy to change that we messed up — we can’t do those kind of things. I could give you any player that made mistakes today that I’ve told them about 50 times. Armando [Bacot] — half of his fouls are him holding onto a guy. I stopped practice yesterday and screamed at him and everybody, saying, ‘How many times do we have to say this?’ But still, Armando was big for us…Cole [Anthony] played his butt off, Garrison [Brooks] played his tail off and missed free throws. We’ve made some mistakes, but on game day, you have to play better.”

On preventing this loss from having a ripple effect: “It’s still just one game. I was more upset after Boston College than I am right now, so it’s something where we have to play better…if you want to be a competitor, you have to bust your tail at practice tomorrow and Monday, and go on the road and see if you can play your tail off on Tuesday. We have no assurances. I told them, we’ve got a chance to play again. We also have a chance to play Duke again. The coach is not going to quit, and they’re not going to either.”


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