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Heel Tough Blog: Duke Recap


Inside a raucous Smith Center, and powered by double-doubles from Harrison Ingram and Armando Bacot, UNC took down Duke, as Hubert Davis earned his first home win over the Blue Devils, and in the process, regained control of the ACC regular season race. Carolina raced out to a 45-35 halftime lead, shooting 52% from the field. They forced six Duke turnovers in the first half, which led to 10 points, as Carolina’s fast break set the tone early, and it carried over for the entire 40 minutes. Bacot and Ingram combined to score 23 first-half points, as the two rose to the occasion of tonight’s game. R.J Davis overcame a quiet first half, to score 17 points, as he hit the free throws down the stretch to ice the game. Duke outshot Carolina, 51% to 50%, and competed on the backboards, losing 35-34, but their turnovers, and disparity at the foul line were the difference in the game. 

Coming out of the half, you expected Duke to make a run, and make it a typical Duke/UNC game, but it just never happened. Carolina would build a lead as large as 15, and from there was able to control the game the rest of the way. It’s not often that you see three Duke players score more than 20 points in the Smith Center, and like the outcome, but that’s what happened tonight, as Roach (20), Filipowski (22), and McCain (23), all scored more than 20 points in the defeat, as Duke led for just 16 seconds. 

There was concern about the state of Carolina coming off the loss earlier in the week at Georgia Tech after a team meeting was held after the team landed in Chapel Hill. But when Armando Bacot met with the media on Thursday, they downplayed the idea that it was a players-only meeting and more a chance for them to start getting ready for tonight’s game. It seemed to work because the team we saw on Tuesday night, was nowhere to be found tonight, as Carolina displayed much better shot selection, and committed just 5 turnovers in the win. 

There are rivalry games, and there are rivalry moments, and that is exactly what the Duke rivalry offers. Tonight, Hubert Davis, who has coached Carolina to the two biggest wins in the history of the rivalry, earned his first home win over Duke, in a moment that he, and this team, will remember for some time. 

  1. Armando Bacot: Carolina fans have been all over Bacot, after a recent dip in play, but tonight, he was sensational, posting 25 points, on 10-13 shooting, and grabbing 10 rebounds, as he became the first UNC player to total more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists against Duke, since Joseph Forte in 2001. He had to win his matchup against Kyle Filipowski, and even though Filipowski scored 22 points, Bacot got the better of him, as he was the focal point of the offense all night long. Along with Harrison Ingram, they became the first teammates to post 20-point double-doubles against an AP ranked team, Antwan Jamison and Vince Carter did so in the late 1990s. Bacot didn’t want to finish his UNC career 1-4 at home against Duke, and tonight delivered a performance that will restore faith in the fan base that he’s capable of being a guy who helps lead the team to the Final Four. 

  2. Harrison Ingram: You never know how a player is going to respond when playing in their first-ever Duke/UNC game, but Ingram didn’t shy away from the moment and put together his best game as a Tar Heel. Ingram scored a season-high 21 points, on 8-12 shooting, including connecting on 5-9 triples. He also grabbed 13 rebounds, including a loose ball, that would eventually lead to a Cormac Ryan three, to make it a 67-54 game. Ingram’s perimeter shooting made the game easier for Bacot, and he even displayed a midrange jumper that proved lethal in the second half. Simply put, when Ingram plays the way he played tonight, along with Bacot, there isn’t a team in the country that Carolina can’t beat. 

  3. Perimeter Defense: Duke entered the game as the best perimeter shooting team in the ACC, shooting 39% from deep as a deep. That wasn’t the case tonight, as Duke was 5-19 from deep, which works itself out to 26%. In the second half, Carolina did an excellent job running Duke off the three-point line, as they didn’t attempt a perimeter shot until after the under-12 timeout. After allowing Georgia Tech to shoot 45% from deep on Tuesday, Carolina responded in that area and looked like the team we’ve seen the majority of the ACC season. 

  4. Bench Production: In a game like this, there is always a player that you don’t expect to step up, who does, and helps that particular team win. Tonight that player was Seth Trimble, who scored 10 points off the bench, and rebounded from a tough performance earlier in the week. Trimble played 19 minutes off the bench, and he scored 10 of Carolina’s 14 bench points. For the game, Carolina’s bench outscored Duke’s 14-6. 

  5. Ball Movement: Carolina’s offense returned to its efficient self, in large part due to the ball movement, as Carolina handed out 18 assists on their 33 made baskets. Both Bacot and Davis handed out 5 each, as every starter totaled at least one assist. They made Duke’s defense work as hard as they have all season long, and as a result, Carolina shot 50% from the field, and 38% from deep. 

  6. Points off Turnovers/Fastbreak Points: Carolina scored 19 points off of Duke’s turnovers tonight, including 16 points in transition. For comparison, Duke scored just 7 points off of UNC’s turnovers, and 12 points in transition. 

  7. Updated Rivalry Numbers: Carolina now leads the series, 144-117, and has won 5 of the last 8 meetings. 

Up Next: Carolina is back in action on Tuesday night when they host Clemson. That game is set to tip at 7 PM on ESPN.

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