By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The No. 5 Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team defeated the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels for the first-time this season. The Blue Devils had star Zion Williamson in this game, who missed part of the first game due to injury and did not play in the second meeting with the same injury.
Duke won 74-73 over the Tar Heels in the New York Life ACC Men’s Tournament semifinal at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With the win, the Blue Devils will play for the AAC Men’s Tournament Championship on Saturday night. They will face the Florida State Seminoles, who defeated the Virginia Cavaliers in the other semifinal.
The Tar Heels had an opportunity to score late. Instead of North Carolina head coach Roy Williams calling a timeout to put a play together, he let Colby White run a play by himself.
White attempted a shot with several seconds left. The Tar Heels got the rebound and attempted another shot before the clock ran out on their hopes of winning the game.
Williamson scored a game-high 31 points for the Blue Devils. He had 11 rebounds, one steal, and one block.
He has four 30-point performances on the season, including this game. He had a season-high 35 points against the Syracuse Orange in a 95-91 overtime loss on Jan. 14.
He was one of three Duke players, who scored in double-figures. R.J. Barrett added 15, while Tre Jones contributed 11 points.
The Blue Devils had six bench points. Jordan Goldwire led the bench with four points. He also had three rebounds, one assist, and two steals.
Cameron Johnson led the Tar Heels with 23 points. He also had five rebounds and one assist.
This was Johnson’s second 20-point performance in the last four games. He also had 22 points against the Boston College Eagles in a 79-66 win on March 5.
Johnson had a 27-point performance, a season-high, in a 95-57 win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Feb. 16.
He was one of three North Carolina players, who scored in double-digits. Luke Maye scored 14, while White contributed 11.
The Tar Heels had 14 bench points. Nassir Little led the bench with nine points. He also had five rebounds.