One thing we know about Duke vs Carolina is that it’s going to be a competitive game. Regardless of records, ranking or what have you – these teams want to beat one another. The analytics had UNC winning by a bucket or two and on their home floor, on senior night and with quite possibly their NCAA Tournament lives on the line the expectation was for them to come out hot. The crowd in the Smith Center was loud and ready for a UNC victory – it did not come.
Neither team came out hot in fact both teams were ice cold. Despite a 5 to 0 start for the Heels the Blue Devils battled back and on the strength of their defense. Both Duke and North Carolina struggled mightily offensively, neither team was able to reach the 40% plateau from the floor and with that neither team could manufacture a working margin. Duke would push to a slight 2 point margin at the half.
The second half saw more of he same, both teams struggling offensively but battling. In a possession by possession game the two teams managed 8 lead changes and 5 ties.
UNC would come back from Duke’s largest lead of the game (7pts) to tie the game at the 12 minute mark before taking a 4 point lead at the 8:32 mark of the second half. Just like UNC, Duke battled back to reclaim the lead late on 2 Kyle Filipowski free throws.
The Blue Devils used a 6-0 run and holding UNC to zero buckets in the last 4:20 second so cement the victory and earn the season sweep of UNC 62-57.
Kyle Filipowski struggled early but was one of four Blue Devils to score in double figures on Saturday night with 22 points and 13 rebounds. The freshman was joined by junior captain Jeremy Roach, who had 10 points and his classmates, Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell, who finished with 13 and 10 respectively.
Points were hard to come by for both teams in this game. Neither team eclipsed the 40% mark in shooting nor did either team shoot the 3 over 31%. Predictably the top 2 rebounding teams ended up even with 39 boards apiece. Both ended with 29 defensive rebounds and 10 offensive boards. The difference in the game was Duke’s ability to turn their offensive boards into second chance points. Duke won that battle 14-7.
Duke ends the regular season with a 23-8 record, a conference record of 14-6 and a No. 4-seed in the ACC Tournament, marking the Blue Devils’ ACC-best 15th top-five ACC finish in the last 16 seasons and 37th in the last 40. With the No. 4-seed, Duke beings play at the ACC Tournament on Thursday in the quarterfinals versus either No. 5 Pitt, No. 12 Florida State or No. 13 Georgia Tech. The game tips at 2:30 p.m. from the Greensboro Coliseum.
DUKE HEAD COACH JON SCHEYER
“Thought we were going to see their best shot tonight with just what they’ve gone through and we knew they were going to be ready to play, and they were. And I thought we matched their physicality to start. And really just made, our players made some big-time winning plays down the stretch. Mark Mitchell, he probably had two of the biggest plays of anybody on our team all year. He had two rebounds in traffic that were, it was a man rebound. Both of them. And they came at a key time. They do a great job crashing the boards. And then he probably had the biggest basket of the game, we got down five. He had a great drive to cut it to three. And Jeremy [Roach], down the stretch, what he’s done. He’s been that guy for us. He didn’t have his best stuff tonight and still found a way just to will it in with that basket to go up three, I think it was. And then [Kyle Filipowski], big-time free throws. Really proud of this effort. Proud of this win. For us to grind back this later part of the year, our guys have stuck together, continued to fight, continued to believe and it’s shown up with what they’ve done on the court.
On Kyle Filipowski’s slow start and how he overcame it:
“It was a little bit of a disjointed first half because of the foul trouble. When Dereck [Lively II] is not on the court, and Ryan [Young] did a really good job keeping us afloat, but it just changes our team on the defensive end. And Flip, he’s been right there. Him and Jeremy [Roach] have been our two best players all year. So, he didn’t get off to that start and settled him down. And come back in, on the road, and to have 22 and 13 after that start, it says a lot about who he is. The competitor. And he’s a big-time winner. He really helped us, middle of the second half, we just had a hard time scoring. And they’re a really good defensive team. I don’t think they get enough credit. The numbers would show it and who they’ve been on the defensive end. But for Flip, we just went to him. And he found a way to manufacture points when we needed them the most.”
On Jeremy Roach’s last-minute basket:
“I did say go get us one. We’ve got great trust in Jeremy. Doesn’t matter what happened for the 35 minutes before. Him and [Filipowski] have had a great two-man game. I thought, they play in drop coverage and they kind of make you play in-between. They don’t let you get to the rim and you kind of have to hit some of those touch shots and floaters too. Thought Jeremy wasn’t as decisive as he normally is, and that last play, he was decisive. And he’s a winner. Game’s on the line, he’s going to go. You trust the ball in his hands.”
On how much confidence this win can give the team for the postseason:
“Regardless of the double-bye or not, of course we want the double-bye and that’s great. I think it’s more important what we’ve done as a team, to your point, and sticking together. I think the ACC, the lack of credit that we’ve gotten this year, we’ve played in this stretch especially, since the last time we played [Miami], we’ve played some really good teams. I’m proud of what we’ve done. Our defense has been top-10 in the country in the month of February. We’ve been as consistent as anybody in the country down the stretch. And we’ve been through this enough, or at least I have, just being on the staff here, where no matter how you end the year, postseason is different. We need to get refreshed. This was a physical game. And we had to do some things to gut it out. But now we need to refocus, understanding postseason is a different animal. It’s one-and-done time and there’s a lot to learn from this. But the belief is there for us, and that’s as important as anything.”
JUNIOR GUARD JEREMY ROACH
On how much confidence a win like this can give the team heading into the postseason:
“I mean, there’s a lot of confidence. Because you know how the tournament goes, most of the games are going to be like this. Making it out of these big-time wins and close games like that, with these younger guys, it gives us a lot of confidence”
FRESHMAN GUARD TYRESE PROCTOR
“It’s a huge win. Just keep playing game by game. Not looking too far ahead, not looking back at our past. I think we’ve just done a great job sticking together through our ups and downs. And I think we’re having a lot of fun, our chemistry is really starting to click now. We’re coming together at the right time and it’s been good.”
On if the team handled adversity better now than earlier in the season:
“Yeah definitely. We’ve gone through it before. [Dereck Lively II] is a heck of a defender, his presence on defense is huge. That’s going to come with a couple fouls and unfortunately a couple fouls got called tonight. And we’ve got his back. Ryan [Young] came in and played big minutes and Ryan came back in and got huge rebounds.”
On what he’s done to improve his defense as the season progresses:
“I just think taking pride is a big thing. Obviously I don’t want my man scoring, I don’t want them to score. That’s going to help us win games. Coach [Scheyer] emphasizes us playing and locking in on defense and just following on offense. So I just try and take pride in that.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD KYLE FILIPOWSKI
On how it feels to get a win at UNC to end the season:
“It’s a great feeling. I mean, I know it’s a little more personal with Jeremy [Roach], with the way things ended last year, so just wanted to have his back throughout this season. They had something to play for this game but so do we. We were going out there to get that double-bye, going into the ACC Tournament, I believe we just did that. It’s a great feeling. Just especially where we started the season with some hard road losses, now we’re just staying the course and finishing strong on the road.”
On what the celebration was like after the game:
“It was awesome. It was amazing. We did what we had to, to put an end to the season. We’re putting ourselves in a real great spot for the postseason. So now we just got to go on to the next one, focus and put our heads down.”
UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis:
On the final UNC offensive possession
“We called a play that gave us an option for two looks to attack the basket and two looks on both sides to get a three. I felt like they (Duke) defended it really well and we just didn’t get a clean look off of that shot.”
On if this game had similarities to the first meeting against Duke this season
“I felt like it was very similar to a number of our games. In the second half we took the four-point lead and it has been a consistent theme all year where in that time where it is a great opportunity to extend it, there has been a lot of times this year where we haven’t been able to do it. We take the four-point lead and give Mark Mitchell a drive to his left for a layup. Then, the next possession we give a lob to (Dereck) Lively and he rolls every time off of a ball screen. I wouldn’t say it was consistent with the first game in Durham but more consistent with the close losses we have suffered this year.”
On the team’s confidence shooting
“I thought we had wide open looks from three that we didn’t make but more importantly I thought we had layups that we missed. We missed a lot of shots around the basket. In the first half, Pete (Nance) missed a layup, Caleb (Love) missed a dunk and we only got one point from it, and Armando (Bacot) missed a layup. I felt like we had opportunities around the rim to be able to convert and we just weren’t able to do it.”
On the team’s depth heading into the ACC Tournament
“I am not adopting the narrative that we need to win four games. My focus is on Wednesday. I think it is important to focus on what is real and ahead of us. That is a game at 7 o’clock on Wednesday and that is where my focus is. I feel good about our team. I told them in the locker room that even though I was very sad, that I wasn’t done at all in terms of my confidence in what kind of team that this could become. My confidence in this team is not going to waver at all.”
On the final play
“It was a play we usually run. I think they did a good job of blowing it up a little bit with the hand-off between Caleb and R.J. But, that happens, so credit to them for playing good defense.”
On trouble scoring against Duke this year
“I think we usually live in the paint. I think we didn’t attack the paint like we usually do every game. They got (Dereck) Lively who is a really good rim protector. I don’t even know how many blocks he had tonight. Yeah, he was in foul trouble, but I don’t know. Sometimes, like I said before, the ball doesn’t go in, and we had a hard time scoring tonight for sure.
On this game’s effect on NCAA Tournament hopes
” I think that was a really big one for us. Just like Coach Davis said, we can’t stop playing. Obviously we need to have a really good week next week, probably gotta get four. We gotta just, we can’t keep our heads down. As upsetting as it is, we gotta stay together and keep playing.
On the mood in the locker room postgame:
“Yeah, as competitors we just don’t want to lose. I mean, we just don’t like the feeling of losing. And, it hurts as a team. Especially when you go out there and try so hard.”
Q: “Is the mindset now just gotta win next week? Is that just kinda what the focus shifts to?”
“Yeah, I mean, that’s every game. Our focus is we gotta win and no different next week in the ACC Tournament.”
On the team’s cold stretch in the last four minutes:
“Yeah, good looks and we just didn’t capitalize. But, yeah, some games you won’t make the good looks and it’s just a tough thing to swallow.”
Q: “How do you get the spirits back up to kind of get ready for a postseason tournament?”
“It’s definitely low right now just because of the type of game it was. It was, senior night against our rival so it’s definitely…something that we’re taking in right now. The best way to look at it is we got Tuesday, I think we play Wednesday, whatever next week it is. But, we gotta just go into that ACC Tournament with a clear mindset, 0-0 for us record wise. And, you know just play ball, play together.”
On the team’s scoring droughts late against Duke this season:
“We made plays. I don’t think we just made the enough plays the last four minutes like you said. We had good looks, shots were not falling, we attacked the offensive glass, kind of sometimes the ball just didn’t bounce our way. But the effort was there, sometimes you know we don’t make enough plays to win the game.”
On the offensive play coming out of the timeout with 43 seconds remaining:
“So it was like an elevator screen door for me to get the ball, then pass it to Leaky, then Leaky had the option to dribble baseline either for himself and then Caleb had a back screen on the corner opposite side where I was coming off a lateral screen from Pete so they kind of defended that switch there a little bit. Kind of, we just started to freestyle at the end. I backdoored Roach, just wasn’t able to convert at the rim.”
Q: How are you preparing for the ACC tournament?
“The ACC Tournament is definitely huge for us. We’re just going in there with the mindset of we have to win. It’s all we can do.”
Q: “What was said after the game?”
“Nothing really, just be ready for the tournament.”
Q: On potentially having to win the ACC Tournament:
“I mean, that was our goal anyway, even if we weren’t in this position, is to win the ACC tournament.”