It was a battle between two of the most storied rivals in college basketball, and Duke and North Carolina didn’t disappoint. The Blue Devils came out on top in a thrilling game that was decided in the last seconds. With only one Duke player having logged any minutes in the series, it was up to the unspoken requirements of intensity and focus to lead the way.
The game started off close, with the Tar Heels holding a lead for the first 14 minutes. But Jeremy Roach, the lone natural upperclassman for Duke, scored the Blue Devils’ first five points and seven of the first nine. Duke took the lead with 3:52 to play in the first half and never looked back, going into the break with a 33-32 lead. Roach led all Duke players with ten points at halftime, while Armando Bacot had twelve to lead UNC.
Coming out of halftime, Duke held North Carolina to just three points before the Under-16 timeout with a suffocating defensive approach, but could only muster six points of their own to keep the score within five points. With 14:32 to play, Kyle Filipowski’s transition layup put the home team up by six, but UNC quickly stormed back with a 7-0 run to take the lead back.
Dereck Lively had a career high in blocks and earned double digit rebounds for the third time in the last five games, but it was Roach and Tyrese Proctor’s backcourt combo that outplayed their counterparts on UNC. Lively followed a Roach missed layup with 1:35 to play to put the home team up 59-57.
With 90 seconds on the game clock, the Tar Heels had a wide open Leaky Black in the corner for a three-point attempt that would have put his team back on top. He caught the front end of the rim and UNC’s scoring drought extended past three minutes. After Filipowski missed a layup, he gathered his own miss which allowed Scheyer to call a timeout and design a play to get his captain a layup to put his team up by four points.
Davis quickly called a timeout to set up the final 20.9 seconds. As they had done all night, Duke’s defense bucked up and fouled UNC’s players with the two fouls they had left to give. Kyle Filipowski bothered a three-point attempt from Pete Nance that rimmed out wide. Roach grabbed the rebound and calmly sunk both free throws to put Duke up by 6 and take the win.
It was a game that was full of intensity and focus, and it was the unspoken requirements of a rivalry game that led the way to victory for Duke. With the Blue Devils coming out on top, it was clear that their dedication to push the tempo and force the action paid off.