Duke gets workmanlike victory over North Carolina, sweeps season series

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

89. 434. Final. 76. 441

The Duke basketball team swept the season series over the North Carolina Tar Heels with an inspiring victory on Saturday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Before the Blue Devils tipped the ball on Saturday night, they knew they could be no better nor worse than the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament.

However, that did not stop Duke from coming out and jumping on North Carolina early and often, which led to an 89-76 victory in the regular season finale.

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The Tar Heels were able to get close, tying the game on multiple occasions, but never led on Saturday evening as Mike Krzyzewski started his senior class of Justin Robinson, Javin DeLaurier, and Jack White alongside Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley.

Robinson continued his impressive hot streak by ending the night with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, and four blocks on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range while Vernon Carey Jr., coming off the bench, led the Blue Devils with 25 points and ten rebounds in what probably was his last game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

DeLaurier picked up four points, two rebounds, three steals, and a block while White did not register a statistic.

Tre Jones could have also been playing his final game in Durham, and the sophomore did not disappoint with 21 points and 11 assists in addition to three rebounds, one steal, and two blocks and making all ten of his free throw attempts.

Jones also teamed with Jordan Goldwire to hold Cole Anthony to just nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.

Duke separated itself from the Tar Heels thanks to an 8-0 run which put the Blue Devils up 80-67 with under four minutes to play.

Carey Jr. got the run started with a slam at the rim, while Robinson took the roof off the building with his fourth 3-pointer of the night, and it was only fitting for a Cassius to throw the knockout punch as Cassius Stanley drained a 3-pointer to cap off the evening.

Stanley quietly had an outstanding game with 19 points and six rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting.

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Duke didn’t have an answer for the North Carolina backcourt of Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot, who combined for 39 points and 25 rebounds, 15 of which came on the offensive glass as the Heels totaled 19 offensive rebounds.

The Blue Devils were excellent when sharing the ball and running the floor, assisting on 19 of their 25 made baskets, and making 10-of-21 from 3-point range and 29-of-33 from the free throw line.

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North Carolina (13-18, 6-14 ACC) comes in last place in the conference but will be the No. 14 seed in the conference tournament as Georgia Tech is ineligible for the postseason this year. The Tar Heels will face Virginia Tech in the first round on Tuesday.

As the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament, Duke (25-6, 15-5 ACC) still gets the double-bye and will play on Thursday afternoon against either Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, or North Carolina State. The Demon Deacons and Panthers will play on Tuesday to determine the opponent for the Wolfpack on Wednesday.