Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Carolina-Duke celebrated the 100th anniversary of the greatest rivalry in sports with another instant classic, unfortunately Carolina fell just short of a upset of #7 Duke. Despite controlling the game for the most of the way, the issues that have plagued this team resurface, and Carolina wasn’t able to close the deal. The 98-96 overtime loss, is the first time Duke has won in Chapel Hill since February of 2016, as Duke has struggled to match the intensity of the rivalry with younger players. Carolina led by 13 with 4:30 left, and failed to get the job done. The collapse is very similar to the loss to Duke in 2012, or for more recent memory the home loss to Clemson back in January.
For the game, Carolina shot a effective 53%, while only converting on 3-12 from behind the arc. The 5 days in between the Florida State and Duke game, allowed for Roy Williams to tinker with Cole Anthony as he’s still adjusting since returning from injury. They played more through Garrison Brooks who scored 18 points, on 9-12 from the floor. Armando Bacot wasn’t as efficient but was 4-10 and at time his power was a issue for Duke. The only negative about the offensive performanc, was the inconsistency from the foul line. Of the 38 free throws attempted, only 21 were converted. That comes out to 55%, which is abysmal, and ultimately cost them a chance at a upset.
Nobody knew how competitive Carolina was going to be, but the rivalry brings out the best in teams, and that was the case once again. You have to applaud the effort that was displayed, but understanding that we’re not here for moral victories, especially in this game. At 10-13 ( 3-9), there isn’t a lot of optimism for the rest of the way, which is why a upset of Duke would’ve made us feel better about the season. 3 takeaways from the 6th loss inside the Smith Center:
1. 4 Minute Offense: It wasn’t good in the loss to Clemson, and it wasn’t good yesterday. This team doesn’t know how to close games, and even though Duke is young, they’ve experienced winning big games in big atmospheres. Now maybe if you make your free throws, or box out and get a rebound the result is different, but you can’t score 6 points over the final 4:30. Duke was always going to have a run in them, unfortunately it came in the closing stretch, and Carolina couldn’t recover.
2. Free Throws: The foul shot numbers, are a rest example of the inconsistency of this group. There have been games where they were perfect from the foul line, then some games they barely shoot over 50%. When Andrew Platek toed the line for two freebies in the finals seconds, he was defeated before he ever attempted a foul shot. The confidence of the team ebbs and flows not from game to game, but from timeout to timeout. Which is a big reason for the erratic effort from the charity stripe. 3. Failure to Convert on Secone Chance Opportunitlies: Of the 13 offensive rebounds, only 11 points were scored. This was a issue at Florida State earlier in the week. Roy Williams made it known on Thursday that he thinks the numbers don’t indicate how good/bad they are at rebounding. If they convert on those second chances more often, most likely they win despite the foul line problems.
Up Next: It’ll be a road trip next for UNC, but it’ll be a bus ride as they travel to Wake Forest. Both teams are the bottom of the ACC standings, but a win for either would be celebrated at this point of the season. ACC Network will televise the game, with a scheduled 8 pm tip.