Carolina takes care of the ball and rival Duke

North Carolina, which tied a school record for fewest turnovers in a game, came from 12 down to take control in the second half and defeat rival Duke 82-78. The Tar Heels, underdogs at home, survived a 14-4 Blue Devil run in the first half and a five-minute scoring drought in the second half. UNC coach Roy Williams pointed to his team’s assist-to-turnover (15 assists, two turnovers) ratio as a key. “We didn’t shoot exceptionally well but we scored when we needed to,” Coach Williams said. “Except for a stretch of five or six minutes where we didn’t score, we […]

North Carolina, which tied a school record for fewest turnovers in a game, came from 12 down to take control in the second half and defeat rival Duke 82-78.

The Tar Heels, underdogs at home, survived a 14-4 Blue Devil run in the first half and a five-minute scoring drought in the second half.

UNC coach Roy Williams pointed to his team’s assist-to-turnover (15 assists, two turnovers) ratio as a key. “We didn’t shoot exceptionally well but we scored when we needed to,” Coach Williams said. “Except for a stretch of five or six minutes where we didn’t score, we played exceptionally well in the second half.”

Having cut a 40-28 deficit to just four at 49-45 at the half, the Tar Heels stormed out of the locker room to outscore the Devils 16-2 to take control at 61-51.

During that run, where the Heels scored on seven straight possessions, Kenny Williams and Joel Berry hit back-to-back long three pointers.

Williams, who tied a career-high 20 points, hit six of 12 threes while Cam Johnson, the transfer from Pitt, hit four of eight three pointers. Johnson, who scored 18 points, added a career-high 13 rebounds.

Rebounding was a big difference in the second half as the Tar Heels went from a five-rebound deficit in the first half to a six-rebound advantage for the game. Carolina picked up 15 offensive rebounds which helped control the clock a bit late when the Tar Heels were having trouble scoring.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the story of the second half was the 15 offensive rebounds for Carolina. “It showed how hard they were going after it,” Coach K said of the Heels.

During the biggest drought, Duke cut a nine-point Carolina lead to just two at 74-71 with under five minutes to go. The Tar Heels had missed 13 field goal attempts in a row before Johnson drained a three from the left wing to put Carolina up 77-71 with 3:07 to play.

Berry added a couple of free throws to give the Heels a 79-71 cushion with 2:29 to go.

The Tar Heels had a couple of chances to wrap it up but Theo Pinson missed a dunk and Williams missed a contested layup, opening the door for Duke.

A Marvin Bagley dunk pulled Duke to 79-75 with 34 seconds to go. A Berry free throw and a flying dunk straight down the lane by Pinson with 12 seconds to go wrapped it up.

Joining Williams and Johnson in double figures were Berry, who scored 21 despite missing seven of eight threes, and Luke Maye who added 15.

Pinson, the other starter, only scored four points but he hauled in seven rebounds, dished out four assists, and had two steals and a block.

Gary Trent led Duke with 16 points while Bagley added 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Tar Heels, who travel to N.C. State Saturday, improve to 18-7 and 7-5 in the league while Duke, who have lost two in a row, falls to 19-5 and 7-4 in the ACC.

For a box score and more on the game, please click here.