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UNC Claims ACC’s Top Seed

(NCAABB) UNC gets revenge on the Blue Devils with their 76-72 victory at Duke in 4 years. Clinching the top seed in the ACC tournament on its arch rival’s home floor on senior night.

UNC out-rebounded Duke by 34 and held the Blue Devils below 38 percent shooting.

Brice Johnson had 18 points and 21 rebounds, and the eighth-ranked Tar Heels dominated the glass and held on to beat No. 17 Duke.

Building a 64-29 rebounding advantage while dominating Duke 42-20 in the paint.

“We dominated the paint like we needed to. And we didn’t go away from it,” senior guard Marcus Paige said. “We kept going to the paint, kept going to the paint and we were able to hold off their runs. They made a couple of runs where they made a lot of 3s, but that’s what Duke does. We were able to stay composed in a hostile environment and show what this team is really made of.”

Kennedy Meeks added 12 points and 14 rebounds, Joel Berry II scored seven of his 12 in the final 5 minutes and Paige hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to help the Tar Heels (25-6, 14-4) earn their first win on Duke’s floor since 2012.

“After all we’ve been through the last four years, it feels great to be able to walk off this court and say we won the ACC,” Johnson said.

Grayson Allen scored 29 points while Luke Kennard added 20 for the Blue Devils (22-9, 11-7), who have the No. 5 seed in the league tournament. They gave themselves a chance to win by hitting 13 3-pointers.

“That’s what we do – 3s and free throws are kind of how we have to score,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We’ve got to do what we have to do, and it’s won 22 games, it’s made us a very good and tough team.”

Allen and Kennard hit them in the final 20 seconds, with Kennard’s making it 72-70 with 9.3 seconds left.

Paige hit two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. After Marshall Plumlee dunked home Allen’s missed layup with 2.8 seconds left to make it 74-72, Paige iced it with two more foul shots with 1.5 seconds.

“On the second trip to the line, I knew it was over,” Paige said. “And it started to sink in that after all we’ve been through, we finally got over the hump and became an elite team and made a run that elite teams do. Man, it felt good.”

Justin Jackson added 13 points and Paige finished with 11 for the Tar Heels, who earned just their second victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium since the Tyler Hansbrough Danny Green led group went 4-for-4 from 2006-09, and their first since 2012.




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