Before I die, I have to visit Cameron Indoor Stadium, and it must be during a Duke-North Carolina game. Watching on TV doesn't really do it for me anymore I must be in attendance for that amazing atmosphere.
Duke defeated the Tar Heels, 92-90, adding another instant classic to the best rivalry in College Basketball.
Duke started this game off with high energy, and took full advantage of some lousy defense by the Tar Heels in the first half. By the first TV timeout, 5 minutes into the game, Duke had a 15-6 lead, and a minute later it turned into a 20-8 lead.
Carolina got off to a real slow start, especially on the defensive end. They couldn't find the shooters on the perimeters and didn't stop nothing inside the paint. I thought that this game was going to turn into a blowout but the Tar Heels would get it together and slow walked the Blue Devils all the way to halftime. In the first half they would cut the lead to as low as 4 but at halftime they were down 42-49.
In the second half is when the magic started to happen. In the first 6 minutes of the half, Carolina went on a 15-4 run, gaining their first lead of the game. The Tar Heels front court did a great job in the 2nd half, all 3 forwards scoring in 15+ points. Brice Johnson finished with a double, 18 points and 12 boards. J.P Tokoto and Kennedy Meeks also played big combining for 33 points. All three did a grew job on the boards, combining 11 offensive rebounds.
The Tar Heels backcourt is what cost them the game. They were outplayed by the Duke guards on both ends of the court. Marcus Paige and Justin Jackson combined for 3-19 shooting and 7 points, while Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones were 14-31 from the field and 44 points. Cook had a great game shooting the rock, going 6-9 from the trey line.
Carolina built a 9 point lead with 2:41 left in the game, but if you know the history of this rivalry, you knew the game was far from over. Duke went on an 11-2 run to tie the game up with 16 seconds left in the game. Carolina would have the last possession but Tokoto couldn't knocked down the open mid-range jumper to seal the game.
In overtime, The Tar Heels couldn't close out the game and allowed Duke to take advantage. After a Marcus Paige turnover with 2:24 left on the clock with a 87-86 lead, Duke took the lead, but thanks to free throws by Isiah Hicks, Carolina would regain it. On the ensuing possession, Jahlil Okafor proved why he is the best player in the country, backing down Meeks for a tough layup to give Duke the lead that they wouldn't lose for the rest of the game.