No. 9 Duke defeats North Carolina 87-67 in coach Mike Krzyzewski's final road game in Chapel Hill
Final: No. 9 Duke 87, North Carolina 67
No. 9 Duke left it all on the court in coach Mike Krzyzewski's final road game against North Carolina as the Blue Devils defeated the Tar Heels 87-67. Duke capitalized on a pair of strong runs to start each half – 13-2 to start the game and a 12-0 run to stat the second half – to distance itself from its Tobacco Road rival.
North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, who averages a double-double, was assigned to guard Duke star freshman Paolo Banchero to start the game and Bacot picked up two fouls before the first media timeout and he was sent to the bench, as the Blue Devils pulled away. North Carolina forward Brady Manek kept the game from getting too out of hand in the first half and North Carolina coach Hubert Davis put Bacot back in the game to stop the bleeding, as North Carolina cut Duke's lead to 39-28 at halftime.
But the Blue Devils' run to start the second half, fueled by 10 consecutive points by AJ Griffin, who finished with a game-high and career-high 27 points, helped put the game out of reach. Manek finished with 21 points, but North Carolina lacked the offensive firepower and defensive fortitude to stop a Duke team that shot 57 percent from the field and 47 percent from deep.
Duke's AJ Griffin up to a career-high 27 points
Duke freshman AJ Griffin's point total when he exited the game with roughly six minutes remaining was about half of North Carolina's team total – a career-high 27 points compared to 55. Griffin has made 11 of 16 shots, including three of five 3-point attempts, as he had paced the Blue Devils.
Griffin's previous career high was 22 points against Wake Forest in mid-January and in the first eight games of his career, he scored a combined 32 points.
Duke calls timeout, up 17 with eight minutes to play
No. 9 Duke still holds a comfortable lead over rival North Carolina, 68-51, but Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called a timeout with 8:39 to play after RJ Davis hit a jumper. Both sides have been going back and forth – the last four shots in the game have gone in – but the Tar Heels haven't been able to cut into the Blue Devils' lead in any way that will change the trajectory of the outcome.
Duke freshman Paolo Banchero has gotten going as of late and he's up to 13 points, the same point total as Wendell Moore Jr. AJ Griffin has a team-high 23, while North Carolina's Brady Manek's 21 points are the only reason that the Tar Heels have had any life in the game.
Duke starts second half on massive run
Halftime: No. 9 Duke 39, North Carolina 28
After No. 9 Duke jumped out to a 13-2 lead in Chapel Hill over rival North Carolina in coach Mike Krzyzewski's final trip to the Dean Dome and later extended its lead to 31-8, North Carolina rallied back thanks to the hot shooting of senior forward Brady Manek and the interior play of his frontcourt teammate Armando Bacot.
Duke took a 39-28 lead into halftime – a score that both sides could reasonably feel confident about, since Duke leads by double digits and since North Carolina is within striking distance despite its best player, Bacot, being benched with foul trouble in the game's opening minutes.
Manek scored a first half-high 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers. His scoring kept North Carolina afloat, especially with Bacot on the bench. Duke's AJ Griffin has scored 13 and Wendell Moore Jr. chipped in 11.
Manek hits fourth 3-pointer
If North Carolina is going to keep pace with No. 9 Duke, it'll be because Brady Manek will keep the Tar Heels in the game. He's now 4-for-7 from 3-point range, his latest coming in the right corner to cut the Blue Devils' lead to 37-23, forcing a Duke timeout.
Duke, with Wendell Moore Jr. and AJ Griffin each scoring 11 points already, has been in control of the game since the opening tip-off, but North Carolina has cut into Duke's dominance thanks to Armando Bacot's return to the floor and Manek's hot shooting.
Manek hits from deep, again
Brady Manek throws down slam
Armando Bacot returns to the floor
Duke starts 3-for-4 from 3-point range
No. 9 Duke is running away from North Carolina on the road, thanks in part to a 3-for-4 start from 3-point range, with the latest bomb coming from Trevor Keels. Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin have also sank a shot from outside.
With a free throw attempt coming after a Wendell Moore Jr. layup, where he drew a foul on Leaky Black, Duke leads North Carolina 26-8. Besides a few shots from Brady Manek, the Tar Heels have shown little life in the first half and they may not be able to afford to leave forward Armando Bacot on the bench much longer, despite his two fouls.
Brady Manek hits another 3-pointer to cut into Duke's lead
With Duke leading 19-5, North Carolina forward Brady Manek hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut into the Blue Devils' lead. It was Manek's second three of the game.
With Armando Bacot on the bench with foul trouble, Manek's 3-point shooting ability will be critical to keep the game close.
Duke jumps out to 13-2 lead
No. 9 Duke vs. North Carolina is underway
No. 9 Duke at North Carolina: Date, tip time, TV channel
Here's everything you need to know about how to watch No. 9 Duke versus North Carolina in the two blue bloods' first meeting this season.
Date: Saturday, Feb. 5
Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
No. 9 Duke at North Carolina: Game preview
The 256th installment of the Duke-North Carolina men's basketball rivalry will take place on Saturday, when the Tar Heels host the ninth-ranked Blue Devils. North Carolina, which is 16-6 overall, 8-3 in the ACC and just a half-game behind Duke in the conference standings after an overtime win over Louisville, is amid the transition of replacing a legendary head coach, Roy Williams, which is something Duke will have to do next season after Mike Krzyzewski's retirement.
Under first-year coach Hubert Davis, the Tar Heels rank third in both offensive and defensive efficiency in ACC play, while playing at the fastest tempo in the conference, per kenpom.com. North Carolina no longer plays with two traditional big men, as Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek, 6-9, leads the team in 3-point attempts (125) and he's tied for first in makes (49), but junior Armando Bacot has enjoyed a breakout season in which he's averaging 16.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Bacot is the primary reason why North Carolina ranks third nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, nearly 80 percent, per kenpom.com.
The Tar Heels are shooting the program's best 3-point percentage since their 2009 national championship team at 38.5 percent, thanks to their backcourt of RJ Davis (42.6 percent) and Caleb Love (41.9 percent), plus Manek (39.2 percent). They'll have their hands full with a top-10 Duke team that leads the ACC in defensive efficiency in conference play, per kenpom.com, and which boasts a potential All-American in freshman forward Paolo Banchero, who's averaging 17.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
The Blue Devils will arrive in Chapel Hill on a four-game winning streak, the last two games having come on the road, including a dominant defensive performance in South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame managed just 43 points. Sophomore Mark Williams, who's 7-feet tall and averages 10 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game, projects to be a competitive foil to Bacot.