I generally hate having to rewrite my game summaries either when I accidentally delete them or when I’m so tired I’m not making sense. When Austin Rivers hit a shot over Tyler Zeller, I had to start all over again. I didn’t mind. After writhing on the couch for a minute or so I hit delete.
Rivers capped an incredible comeback down 13 at one point and by 10 with 2 and a half minutes left. Carolina took the lead at halftime by 3 and continued to knife through Dukes defense like butter. Carolinas triumvirate of Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller did more than enough to win this game. Marshall was spectacular scoring 14 points and dishing 8 assists, it was a credit to Duke to hold him under 10 assists, Marshall is a dime machine. Harrison Barnes showed the fans why he was one of the most coveted recruits by both teams by scoring 25 points most of which was in the second half. Tyler Zeller was equally phenomenal scoring at will to the tune of 23 points, until he was saddled with foul trouble.
Carolina out-rebounded Duke 42 to 35 and had 6 more assists. where Duke did its damage in the second half was getting to the basket and putting pressure on Carolinas defense. Duke was able to score points and keep the game close by hitting free throws although not at a great percentage. Also hitting a ton of three pointers, Duke kept throwing haymakers hoping that one or two would stick, in the closing minutes…they did.
The genius of Dukes plan was to keep Carolina within the 3 point arc, Carolina shot 1 of 6 from three while Duke was 14 of 36. Key 3 pointers by Tyler Thornton, Seth Curry and of course Austin Rivers keyed Dukes comeback.
It was hard to imagine this game would come down to one possession the way that UNC played the first two-thirds of the second half.
Duke was paced by Austin Rivers who scored a career high 29 points, and the game winner with .4 left on the clock. Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry scored 15 a piece for Duke. Currys 2nd half 3 in the waning moments of the second half helped fuel Dukes final push. Mason Plumlee scored 14 points and pulled down a team high 14 boards, but left a few shots short clearly having a hard time finishing over UNCs huge front-court.
There are still lots to correct but over analyzing this game is useless, Duke showed heart in this game, and perhaps stole one but if any group of guys needed a huge win it was Duke. As for Austin Rivers he was aggressive, and willed his team to the victory. He basically called his shot saying before the game that he was going to provide “impact”, his shot has cemented him in the annals of Duke-UNC rivalry history. Instant Classic. More later…