Duke beats rival North Carolina 73-68 in first of two meetings

Second-ranked Duke Bluedevils beat rival North Carolina Tarheels 73-68 Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium as the two renewed their intense basketball rivalry.

With the loss, the unranked Tarheels are now three games behind Duke in the conference. The two will meet again in their final regular season game.

Both are still well behind Miami, who won again Wednesday against Florida State to stay perfect in ACC play at 11-0.

Going into the game, the Tarheels were an uncharacteristic 4-5 on the road this season, mostly due to being outscored 240-166 in the first half in those losses, according to rivals.com.

This time the Tarheels started off fast, leading throughout most of the first half.

North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo played well in the first, each getting emphatic follow-up dunks off misses that put Duke on its heels early.

Duke overcame 11 turnovers and an early ten point hole to trail by only four at the half.

Baskets by Duke sophomore Quinn Cook helped Duke bring the game close on several occasions in the first. He had 10 points in the 1st half.

Cook poked for a steal in the backcourt followed by a sprint to the basket to make it 21-16.

Duke’s star senior Seth Curry was held scoreless through most of the first half. Curry had to sit for a good portion of the first after getting into early foul trouble.

North Carolina junior Reggie Bullock hit a three in transition to give the Tarheels a 10-pt lead that prompted a Duke timeout.

The Tarheels were very aggressive on the defensive boards to start and crowded drives to the basket effectively. The Blue Devils’ Mason Plumlee kept them in the game with follow-up baskets and several trips to the free throw line.

In the second half, Duke battled back with a good offensive rebounding effort.

Curry finally gave Duke its first lead of the night 6 minutes into the second half with a three pointer off a screen.

Junior Tyler Thornton was also instrumental in bringing Duke back, shooting a perfect three-for-three behind the arc.

Halfway through the second, both teams went dry from the field for several minutes with the score sitting at 52-47 in favor of Duke.

With less than five minutes left, Curry again came up with a clutch three off of a tipped rebound to give Duke an 8-point lead.

Late in the game and in the bonus, six-straight missed free throws by the Tarheels, mainly by McAdoo and Bullock, allowed Duke to draw the clock down for the victory.