3 games in 3 days? No problem for these Devils. The ceiling may have been the roof for UNC but Duke raised it in their comeback victory in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Duke overcame a 7 point deficit that ballooned to 13 in the second half. UNC had the game well in hand when Joel Berry committed his 4th foul and was relegated to the bench for 10 minutes. Duke took over. Duke spread the Tar Heel defense with dive and kick basketball as they canned 3 after 3 on the collapsing UNC defense. By the time Berry came back into the game Duke had the momentum and renewed life.
Jayson Tatum lead the Devils with 24 points on 8-15 shooting, his long-range shot wasn’t there but Tatum drove the ball effectively and got to the line where he was 7-7. Luke Kennard who was shadowed by Theo Pinson for most of the game didn’t get his normal volume of shot but did end up with 20 points and only needed 7 shots (4-7) to get it. Kennard was a perfect 10-10 from the line where Duke dominated going 33-37. For his second straight game Grayson Allen was active and efficient scoring 18 points on 5-10 shooting, Grayson kept Duke in the ballgame in the first half hitting a barrage of 3 point shots off of curls and ball screens. Allen also led Duke in assists with 5 dimes including an alley oop to freshman Harry Giles.
Per usual UNC won the rebound battle 43-32 but could only muster a 3 point advantage in second chance point. UNC also dominated Duke in the paint 50-26. Duke, however, had a 19 point advantage at the charity stripe and a 30 – 15 advantage from beyond the arc where Duke shot 10 of 17 for 59%. Overall the Devils shot 50% from the floor and 89.2% from the free throw line. Duke only held the lead for 8:49 seconds to UNC’s 30:05 minutes.
Giles played 15 minutes for Coach K, adding 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and a steal. This may have been the most important 30 minutes of the young freshman’s brief career. Giles performance sets up Duke with more depth heading into both the finals of the ACCT and on into the NCAAT.