The historic in-state battle between No. 8 North Carolina and No. 1 Duke lived up to the hype Wednesday, as the Tar Heels shocked the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium 88-72 for their 138th overall win in the Tobacco Road rivalry.
Duke's RJ Barrett led both teams in scoring with 33 points while Luke Maye was the star for the Tar Heels with 30. But the biggest storyline was Zion Williamson's injury departure just 36 seconds into the game due to a mild right knee sprain.
The Heels and the Blue Devils face each other again on March 9, but until then, here are the five things we'll remember from their first matchup:.
Duke needs more than Zion
We'll have to wait and see just how serious Williamson's knee injury is.
Duke's freshman phenom has lit up the scoreboard, stuffed the stat sheet and filled the highlight reels all season long with his crazy dunks and game-ending blocks. But after suffering a knee injury less than a minute into Wednesday's game against North Carolina, Williamson could no longer lead the energy train for his team.
Fellow freshmen Barrett and Cam Reddish carried the Blue Devils with 60 combined points, but that wasn't nearly enough to stop the Tar Heels Wednesday. Williamson's absence was especially missed on defense in the post, where Maye and Co. capitalized all night.
Don't underestimate Carolina
Not even in Cameron Indoor. The Tar Heels, ranked No. 8 in the country, walked into enemy territory with force, surging to a 10-point lead at halftime behind a dominating performance from Maye. The senior put up 18 of Carolina's 32 points in the first half and continued his run in the second for a total of 30 points, 14 rebounds and two assists on the game. The Tar Heel win marks the first time in 13 years that Carolina has topped a No. 1-ranked Blue Devil squad, and if this game is any indicator, Duke vs. North Carolina, Round 2 next month in Chapel Hill could be a Final Four preview.
The terrible 3s
While North Carolina still cruised to 82 points, neither team managed to find much luck beyond the arc. The Blue Devils only hit 8-of-39 3s attempted Wednesday. Carolina fared far worse in the win, averaging 10 percent, hitting 2-of-20.
Threes will be an area of improvement for both teams as they prepare for Meeting No. 2.
North Carolina shot 1-for-14 from three but scored 34 points in the paint in the first half. Duke went into halftime with 32 total points. pic.twitter.com/b7XjNYOkBf— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 21, 2019
Once part of the rivalry, always part of the rivalry
👿 Former players in the house: Will Avery, Robert Brickey, Jordan Davidson, Kenny Dennard, Randy Denton, Rob Hardy, Gerald Henderson, Reggie Love, Cherokee Parks, Ricky Price, Casey Sanders, Kevin Strickland, Todd Zaf— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 21, 2019
📺: Mike Gminski, Jay Bilas, Jay Williams #TheBrotherhood pic.twitter.com/E5O7VG7XHi
From Julius Pepper to Ed Cota and Phil Ford on the Carolina side to Will Avery, Randy Denton and a cast of other former players on the Blue Devils side, the alumni were in full force in Cameron Indoor for Wednesday's matchup. The Blue Devils also received a Twitter shoutout from Utah Jazz player and former Duke national champion Grayson Allen, while Joel Berry II sent his best wishes to the Tar Heels.
Let’s go Duke! 🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/JojAAA4xhG— Grayson (@GraysonJAllen) February 21, 2019
We can expect to see a similar packed house full of former college standouts in this next meeting in March. The question is not if big-name alums will show up for Round 2, but rather which well-known superstars will be in Chapel Hill.
Obama still loves basketball
Speaking of famous visitors, former President Barack Obama scored a court-side seat for the action, and while there is no word yet on whether the 44th President of the United State will be back in North Carolina for rivalry Round 2, he certainly enjoyed himself Wednesday night. Obama's appearance at the game came just 24 hours after he attended a My Brother's Keeper event in Oakland with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.