This Duke Blue Devil team was in need of a winning streak heading into the post season. This game had zero influence on Duke’s seeding in the ACC Tournament but it probably did a lot for the psyche of a team that hasn’t played their best basketball as of late. Having lost 3 of 5 games getting two wins in a row was just what the doctor ordered. Duke was fortunate to win the game at UNC, needing overtime, luck and amazing clutch plays by Tre Jones and Wendell Moore.
Cut to this matchup vs UNC team that has played really good basketball winning 3 straight games. Both teams executed well in the first half with the Blue Devil defense night and day from the first game to this one. The Blue Devils in the first game allowed the Tar Heels to shoot 59.4% in the first half as opposed to 40% tonight and 12 assists in the first half of the first game and only 3 tonight. The Blue Devils closed the first half on a 14-5 run and led, 42-34 at the half.
The first 6 minutes of the second half saw the Tar Heels chip away and get within 1 point of tying the Blue Devils but Duke started to hit from beyond the arc and the fouls on the Tar Heels began to pile up. Duke was finally able to pull away in the waning moments with big 3 point shots from senior Justin Robinson and Freshman Cassius Stanley for an 89 – 76 win.
The Blue Devils were led in scoring by Vernon Carey Jr. who scored 25 points on 8-14 shooting, 9-11 from the free throw line and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Tre Jones dominated the point guard battle with 21 points, 10-10 from the foul line, 11 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.
On his final game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, senior Captain Justin Robinson was a spark plug for the Blue Devils. Robinson scored 13 points on 4-7 shooting, Robinson also had 3 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Duke also got double-figure efforts from Cassius Stanley who scored 19 points and corralled 6 rebounds.
For the Tar Heels Garrison Brooks had a game high 26 points and 13 rebounds. UNC also got 13 from Armando Bacot and 11 from Brandon Robinson who was 3-5 from 3 point range.
The Blue Devils shot 47.6% from 3-point range in the game, holding UNC to 33.3%. The Blue Devils had an edge in fast break points of 19 to 5 and an edge in assists of 19 to 7. UNC edged out Duke in rebounding 38-37 and an edge in second chance points of 18-10.
Next up for Duke is a date in the ACC Tournament as a 4 seed. Download printable brackets here.