CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Freshman AJ Griffin scored a season-high 27 points to help No. 9 Duke beat rival North Carolina 87-67 on Saturday night in of retired Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last visit to Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils shot 58% and took out all the drama of renewing the famous rivalry at the start of both halves, both building a big lead and then stretching it after the Tar Heels ran for it. go back up.
The win allowed Duke (19-3, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) to eject Krzyzewski with a 17th and final victory at the Smith Center, where he coached against the Tar Heels in their season opener in January 1986. .
Brady Manek scored 21 points to lead the Tar Heels (16-7, 8-4), who had won four straight and swept last season’s streak of rivalries. But in freshman coach Hubert Davis’ head coaching debut in the rivalry, UNC never recovered from a horrific start that included the threat of top post Armando Bacot picking up two quick fouls and Duke seemingly unable to miss and more than capable of choking out a rowdy. crowd.
Boos cascaded down from the blue-clad fans for Krzyzewski, both when he emerged from the pre-game visiting tunnel and then when his ninth-ranked Blue Devils were presented for the starting line-ups.
But Duke took a 31-8 lead and then turned in a star-level performance from Griffin — a freshman who missed most of his final two seasons in high school through injury. He had 13 points before half-time and then put on a show to start the second half with his own 10-0 run which featured two 3s – one of which dribbled him between his legs to freeze Manek before burying him in front of the Duke bench. .
By the time Griffin scored against Manek on a lopsided drive, Duke had cut the lead to 49-28 to force a timeout in North Carolina.
The Tar Heels went closer to just 16, with the Blue Devils celebrating 3-pointers and dunks on the Tar Heels field as fans began fleeing to the exits with 5 minutes left.
When it was over, Krzyzewski left the field to boo again – although this time only to a meager din from the student section near the tunnel.
Duke: The Blue Devils entered the game slightly ahead of UNC, Notre Dame and Miami in the ACC standings and held their roost strong. Griffin and fellow freshman Paolo Banchero (13 points) were game issues, while the Blue Devils’ confident shooting performance included a 9-for-19 effort from behind the arc. The ACC preseason favorite has now won five straight overall and won at Smith Center for only the second time in the last six tries.
UNC: Other than Manek, the Tar Heels had few regular points, including a struggle-filled night from No. 2 scorer Caleb Love with eight points on 3-for-10 shooting with four turnovers. Beyond the coaching spotlight, there’s another growing story to watch: the Tar Heels’ NCAA Tournament odds. They entered Saturday ranked 36th in the NCAA NET rankings with an 0-6 record in Quadrant 1 games that make the headlines of any resume. With the ACC having only Duke in the AP Top 25, this presented a huge chance for the Tar Heels to help themselves.
Duke: The Blue Devils return home to host Virginia on Monday.
UNC: The Tar Heels visit Clemson on Tuesday.
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