Dissecting both of Duke basketball’s buzzer beaters against North Carolina

Duke basketball wins at UNC (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball wins at UNC (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball team hit two buzzer beaters against the North Carolina Tar Heels to tie and then win the game on Saturday night and we try and break down how the Blue Devils were able to accomplish it.

If you haven’t heard by now, the Duke Blue Devils defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night in the Dean Dome, 98-96 in overtime.

Duke used a buzzer beater from Tre Jones to push the game into overtime and followed that with a Wendell Moore buzzer beater in overtime on an offensive rebound that came from an airball from Jones.

It was an improbable feat that Duke even had a chance to tie and win the game after trailing by multiple possessions in the closing seconds of both regulation and overtime but the heart and determination of this Blue Devil team is unmatched.

With that being said, we will first look at the Tre Jones jaw-dropping buzzer beater that sent the game to overtime.

Duke was trailing by three and Jones was heading to the free throw line. He made the first attempt as Mike Krzyzewski rolled in his best rebounders, sans Vernon Carey Jr. who fouled out earlier in the game.

The assumption was that Jones would try and miss the free throw long to try and give Javin DeLaurier or Jack White a chance to tip the miss back in and tie the game.

However, Tre Jones is smarter than all of us combined and worked on this type of situation on practice with Associate Head Coach Jon Scheyer.

Jones took a step to the right and threw a bullet right off the right front of the rim as the ball rocketed back to the right wing.

The fact that Jones and Scheyer work on this in practice is a major sign as to why Duke has been the best men’s basketball program for the last three decades. They are always ready for any type of situation.

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Nonetheless, Jones was able to beat his own teammate, Matthew Hurt, to the ball after he missed the free throws and got met with excellent defense by Cole Anthony. Jones began to lose his handle on the ball but Leaky Black fully knocked the ball loose from Jones which allowed the Duke point guard to take one more dribble to get just above the free throw line as he tied the game at 88.

Black also made the decision to try and box out Jones on the miss and on the right box, he stepped right into the lane instead of reacting to the ball, which could have possibly allowed him to tap it or control it and give Carolina the victory.

With five minutes on the clock, Duke was nowhere near done with the dramatics as Tre Jones found himself back on the free throw line with the game hanging in the balance in overtime.


Alright, so to the next buzzer beater.

Jones was back at the free throw line to possibly give Duke the lead. He made his first attempt to tie things up at 96 and then missed the second.

However, before Jones shot the second free throw, Wendell Moore was the only Blue Devil on the blocks.

It looked like he motioned out to Jordan Goldwire, who was on the permitter with Cole Anthony presumably to pick him up full court had Jones made his second attempt.

As to what Moore said will be a question mark, but the direction he pointed was where he tapped the ball out to. Could he have said he’s going to try and tap it to the right wing if Jones missed?

Possibly, but it also it could have been defensive instruction.

Regardless to what Moore said, Goldwire corralled the miss on the tap out and hasn’t gotten enough credit for staying in bounds while he beat Cole Anthony to the loose ball.

Goldwire found Jones who tried to get back to the spot in which he hit a buzzer beater five minutes prior. As time ran down, Moore was looking at Jones and pointed towards the rim.

Again, it’s very possible that he was motioning to Jones that he needed to shoot, much like Seth Curry was motioning to Austin Rivers to drive to the basket before he took a game winning 3-pointer in Chapel Hill eight years ago to the date, but could Moore have known the Tar Heels defense were locking in on Jones and was possible calling for an alley-oop?

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It all worked out in the end because while it goes down as a shot attempt in the scorebook for Tre Jones, it worked just as well as a pass would have since Wendell Moore was able to grab the rebound and go up with the ball all in one motion before the time expired in overtime.

The Duke basketball team moved to 20-3 (10-2 ACC) with another big game coming up on Monday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium against the No. 7 Florida State Seminoles.