Published: Sun, February 11, 2018

North Carolina roars back to beat Duke, 82-78

North Carolina roars back to beat Duke, 82-78

State will also need to see the productive, efficient and hot-shooting version of Freeman if it plans to beat the Tar Heels again.

They played smarter, which contributed heavily to them matching a program record by having just two turnovers for the entire game, while winning the rebounding battle 44-38, including finishing with a 28-17 advantage in the second half.

After one half of play, the Blue Devils lead the Tar Heels, 49-45. Hansbrough went down to the court for a couple seconds, then popped up, with blood pouring from his nose.

Perhaps the biggest reason North Carolina has (thus far) failed to live up to its typical potential as a Final Four-caliber team is its freshman big men haven't amounted to much.

Kenny Williams must not have been on the Duke scouting report as he scorched the Devils from the outside going 6-12, for 20 total points. Nothing the Tar Heels do the rest of the way will be enough to push them ahead of the likes of Villanova and Virginia on the list of favorites to win it all, but they at least have a shot. Landale added nine rebounds and four steals.

Duke-North Carolina games are marquee attractions no matter how the teams are performing coming into them.

Al Freeman, who knocked down all seven of his 3-pointers against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, is just 1 of 12 in the past two games from long range. Joel Berry said afterward that Pinson and the UNC bigs made Duke's forwards "shoot over a wall".

Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams are North Carolina's difference-makers.

Wes Myers made five of South Carolina's 11 3-pointers in last month's 77-72 victory at Florida.

"When our offense isn't as pretty as we want it to play it's my job, especially when my shots aren't going in, to go crash the offensive boards and get our team extra possessions", Kispert said.

By the time the heavily scrutinized Tobacco Road rivals clash each season, they're both known commodities: The first leg of the regular season home-and-home series is entrenched in early February (it was last played in January in 1999 and before Jan. 27 in 1991).

UNC held Duke to 29 points in the second half and limited the Blue Devils to 36 percent shooting.

A fumble lost by running back Jordon Brown with just more than two minutes to go sealed UNC's fate on the day, but the team's outlook for the remainder of the season looks brighter than it has in weeks.

Johnson is the only UNC-Duke first timer that proved he was ready for his rookie rivalry game in this game.

Duke needs more from Allen, too. Marvin Bagley accounted for two of those boards; Wendell Carter, future lottery pick, had none. The first one carries even more emotion because, well, it's the first one.

After Pinson scorched the net with his final dunk - and Duke converted a futile 3-pointer to bring the final margin from eight to five - the senior needed to release some more energy before retiring to postgame interviews.

Several challenges loom for North Carolina, specifically sorting out the quarterback situation and replacing injured players at other positions.

That's what UNC will have to do on Saturday to slow down Freeman, Yurtseven and guard Markell Johnson (who had 20 points and 11 assists). A collision between the two top offenses in the ACC, fueled by likely all-conference honorees and projected National Basketball Association draft picks, produced a predictable result: lots of points.

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