Duke basketball throws game away against North Carolina

Duke basketball (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

87. 434. Final. 91. 441

Duke basketball threw away a chance to defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels. 

The Duke basketball and North Carolina (12-6, 7-4 ACC) rivalry never disappoints, unless you are a Blue Devil (7-7, 5-5 ACC) fan this season.

Duke was never truly comfortable in this game. Mike Krzyzewski’s team was always playing from behind, but it always had an answer for North Carolina’s runs.

However, the Blue Devils had the ball with a chance to tie, or take the lead, with the shot clock turned off and less than 15 seconds to play.

The hero from the first matchup last season, Wendell Moore, took the ball at half court and drove right to the basket. But instead of trying to muster the ball in the rim, he didn’t know what to do, got caught in the air, and came down with the ball before passing it, giving it back to the Tar Heels, who hit two free throws to close out the game.

Moore’s walk was one of 15 turnovers for Duke, resulting in 30 points for North Carolina.

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As if that wasn’t enough, not only were the Blue Devils not able to contain the forwards of the Tar Heels, but they also refused to close out on the North Carolina shooters.

Roy Williams’ team shot 10-of-15 from three-point range as its starting five only missed one three-point shot.

Each Tar Heel starter posted double-figures, but the team was led by 25 points from Caleb Love.

The combination of Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, and Day’Ron Sharpe totaled 39 points and 21 rebounds.

North Carolina was 13-of-22 from the free throw line compared to Duke’s 4-of-7.

Duke basketball saw some improvement from role players

Aside from the turnovers, there isn’t much to criticize the Blue Devils offensively for, shooting 53.7-percent from the field and 44.0-percent from three-point range.

Joey Baker and Henry Coleman, two seldom-used role players, had some very positive minutes, but sophomore Matthew Hurt continued his struggles across three career games against North Carolina.

It took the forward five halves to finally score his first points against the rivals, and after starting to come alive in the second half, Hurt was disqualified with his fifth foul in only 21 minutes.

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Unless Duke runs the table in the rest of the regular season or wins the ACC Tournament, the chances of making the NCAA Tournament are very, very slim as the disappointing season in Durham continues.

The Blue Devils return to the floor on Tuesday afternoon against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-9, 4-6 ACC) inside Cameron Indoor Stadium (4:30pm EST, ESPN).

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