The Duke men’s basketball team blew an 11 point second half lead and lost at rival North Carolina, 74-66. The game was originally supposed to be played last week, but a severe snowstorm pushed it back to tonight. It was the first time since 1990 that an unranked Tarheels team beat a top five Duke team (the Blue Devils recently moved up to number five in the AP Poll) and the UNC crowd stormed the court.
The story of the game was poor shooting for Duke in the second half and free throws.
Duke led 37-30 at the half, with their defense forcing nine turnovers. It was also the Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker show. Hood scored 11 points, despite picking up two fouls with 12:07 to go. Parker then took over, scoring ten points. In the end, Hood only scored 16 points, while Parker recorded a double-double: 17 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately the two combined for seven of the team’s 12 turnovers.
Things changed in the second half when UNC went to a 1-3-1 zone which seemed to rattle Duke (plus the Tarheels played with more life). They stopped penetrating and started chucking. That did not work, as they only made 3-of-13 in the second half (they are the second best three point shooting team in the nation).
With 15:14 to go, Duke led by 11 points. With 12:24 to go, Parker made 1-of-2 free throws to give Duke the 53-45 lead. They would not score again until the Tarheels cut the deficit to two points (Quinn Cook scored on a layup with 6:26 to go). After Cook hit a three pointer with five minutes to go to increase the lead to 60-56, the Blue Devils would not score again until there was 1:56 left and UNC was winning 64-60.
Now to the free throws. The Tarheels are a notoriously bad free throw shooting team. However, they made ten straight to end the game. They also made more (20-of-31) than Duke took (7-of-12).
In their second half comeback, the Tarheels were led by Marcus Paige, Leslie McDonald, and James Michael McAdoo. Paige was more aggressive in the second half, scoring all 13 of his points. McDonald scored ten of his 21 points. McAdoo scored six points and hauled in six rebounds in the second half.
Next up for the Blue Devils is a rematch with current number one Syracuse. The Orange lost their first game of the season last night at home against Boston College. It will be interesting to see how this game plays out, with Syracuse traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time.