Duke wins Round 1 of 2013 Tar Heel-Blue Devil grudge match
Down seven points to rival North Carolina with center Mason Plumlee on the bench with three fouls early in the second half, Duke had four guards on the court and they turned the game around.
The No. 2 Blue Devils scored 16 of the next 21 points to take their first lead and never let it go as they beat UNC 73-68 in ACC basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night.
“I’m really proud of the grit my team showed tonight,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Duke’s game was high on grit but low on great play, particularly in the first half when UNC led by as many as 10 points.
Duke (22-2, 9-2 in ACC) stumbled through the first 20 minutes, turning the ball over 12 times and shooting 38.7 percent to trail 33-29 at the break. The Tar Heels extended that lead to 38-31 and, with Plumlee playing tentatively with three fouls, Mike Krzyzewski went with a different look.
With guards Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton, Rasheed Sulaimon, Seth Curry on the court along with 6-7 forward Josh Hairston, the Blue Devils yielded height and strength to the Tar Heels (16-8, 6-5)
Yet Duke made the move that turned the game in its favor.
UNC scored only one field goal over its next eight possessions as Duke’s smaller, quicker lineup only allowed the Tar Heels one offensive rebound over a stretch of nearly five minutes.
On offense, turnovers and missed shots quit plaguing the Blue Devils. After a Curry free throw, Thornton’s 3-pointer with 16:16 to play cut UNC’s lead to 38-35.
Sulaimon’s basket a little over a minute later left Duke down 38-37.
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P.J. Hairston momentarily stemmed the tide with a 3-pointer for a 41-37 UNC lead and Cook missed a jump shot for Duke on the other end. But the 6-1 Thornton battled for the offensive rebound, tipping the ball back out where the Blue Devils could corral it. Sulaimon zipped a pass under the basket to Josh Hairston, whose layup left UNC with a 41-39 lead as the sellout crowd at Cameron began to roar louder.
A P.J. Hairston turnover kept things going for Duke and Curry sank his only 3-pointer of the game, from in front of the Duke bench, giving the Blue Devils their first lead at 42-41.
P.J. Hairston sank two free throws to put UNC ahead 43-42, but Cook’s layup with 13:24 left gave Duke the lead that it never relinquished.
That run fueled a second half where Duke shot 52 percent.
“We fought (in) the second half,” Cook said. “Fortunately we made some shots and we got the win.”
Plumlee did become a factor again, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils. Cook also scored 18 points and Sulaimon had 13.
“You always want to beat Carolina, especially at home,” said Curry, who scored 11 points on 3 of 10 shooting. “To have my last chance and to get it done here (at home) means everything.”
UNC stumbled to 34.3 percent shooting in the second half and finished at 37 percent for the game. P.J. Hairston led the Tar Heels with 23 points. On the inside, James Michael McAdoo had only nine points, three after halftime.
NOTES — Among those in attendance for the Duke-UNC game were Gov. Pat McCrorey and former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer. Billy Tubbs, Oklahoma’s basketball coach while Switzer coached the Sooners, sat next to Switzer under the basket near the Duke bench.
No. 2 Duke 73, North Carolina 68
Percentages: FG .379, FT .565. 3-Point Goals: 5-18, .278 (Bullock 4-7, Hairston 1-7, Paige 0-1, McDonald 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 3 (Hairston 2, Paige). Turnovers: 13 (Hairston 3, Strickland 2, Bullock 2, McAdoo 2, Tokoto, Paige, Johnson, McDonald). Steals: 8 (McAdoo 2, Paige 2, Hairston, Strickland, McDonald, Bullock). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .446, FT .850. 3-Point Goals: 6-16, .375 (Thornton 3-4, Curry 2-5, Sulaimon 1-4, Cook 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 2 (Mas. Plumlee, Curry). Turnovers: 17 (Cook 5, Mas. Plumlee 4, Sulaimon 4, Curry 2, Thornton, Hairston). Steals: 6 (Cook 4, Jefferson, Mas. Plumlee). Technical Fouls: None.
A—9,314. Officials—Karl Hess, Mike Eades, Bryan Kersey.