Devils celebrate win
It was a table divided for two for Marcus Glover and Qiana Fleming on Wednesday night.
She wore her University of North Carolina T-shirt. He wore a Duke shirt that condemned Tar Heels to the fiery pits of the stygian abyss.
They shouted for their teams at the big screen television on the outer deck of Tobacco Road.
“Shoot it! Shoot it!” Glover yelled as the Blue Devils struggled to close the distance on an early lead by UNC.
“Yay, D!” Fleming countered.
It must be love.
They’ve only been a couple since December, but they’ve known each other for 10 years. He’s a Durham native, so he’s Duke all the way. She’s loyal to UNC because she took classes there. The rivalry is nothing new to them.
“It’s actually kind of fun,” she said.
The proximity of the major basketball schools – they’re a smattering of miles apart, their legendary coaches and their tendency to produce high-quality hoop stars all combine to make an intense and competitive rivalry, Fleming said.
“And there’s a higher chance of seeing one of them get to play in the NCAA championship,” Glover said.
Inside the restaurant, diehard Duke fans Patrick Graham and Tee Fuquay enjoyed front-row seats in cushy black recliners before a broad wall of big screens. Fuquay said that he arrived at Tobacco Road around 6:30 to claim his seat, well in advance of the 9:15 tipoff.
“We’re a little flat right now,” Fuquay said. “But it’s still early!”
Graham replied: “Coach K ain’t worried yet. He’ll sit ‘em down, give ‘em that talk.”
Fuquay agreed. “He’ll let ‘em play through this.”
Even though their team was down, they savored the rivalry.
“When these teams get together, it’s almost always a great game,” Graham said.
In the end, Duke proved too much for UNC, winning the close game 73-68. Hundreds of Blue Devil fans gathered in the quad near Duke Chapel after the game for a celebratory bonfire.
“It was a real team effort,” said senior Russell Dulman. “Great birthday present for Coach K.” Mike Krzyzewski turned 66 on Wednesday.
Another senior, Star Matheny, said the win was exciting.
UNC “did give us a scare,” she said. “I was really nervous. But they came through in the end!”
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