Duke basketball cannot handle pressure of Coach K’s final home game

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team succumbed to the pressure of Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game. 

The pressure was just too great for the Duke basketball team on Saturday night.

A year’s worth of hype was put into 40 minutes on the basketball court, and the moment was too big.

It was apparent in the opening four minutes when the No. 4 Blue Devils looked gassed while North Carolina looked poised to spoil the moment.

Duke eventually got its footing and started to take control of the game before a late first-half push from the Tar Heels catapulted this installment of the rivalry to a second-half war.

Much like the opening four minutes, in which the Blue Devils were tight, the team got tighter in the second half as the North Carolina offense started to get hot.

The hill was too tall to climb.

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The moment was bigger than anyone on the court could have expected. North Carolina spoiled Mike Krzyzewski’s final game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, 94-81.

Four Tar Heels scored at least 20 points and made 19-of-22 free throws.

Duke had no defensive resistance in the second half as the Heels shot 60-percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes.

Paolo Banchero led the Blue Devils with 23 points on 11-of-26 shooting as Krzyzewski only played seven guys in his home finale. Mark Williams posted a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds while Jeremy Roach added 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench.

Duke basketball team upset but knows season is not over

The faces of the Duke players looked like their season had come to an end as Mike Krzyzewski was honored in a postgame ceremony.

However, the Hall of Famer reassured the crowd that this season is not over as the Blue Devils are the No. 1 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament and could get a third game against North Carolina on Saturday night in the conference championship.

Duke will play the winner of Florida State and Syracuse on Thursday afternoon (12:00pm EST) in Brooklyn, New York in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.