The fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils traveled on the road Thursday night for their first meeting this season with the rival North Carolina Tar Heels, one week after the game was postponed and two days before their rematch with the Syracuse Orange, and the will make the short trip back to Durham disappointed, as they were defeated by the Heels, 74-66.
North Carolina showed a gritty effort in the second half, as they were down by seven, but fought their way back in the final 20 minutes to upend their heated rivals. It was the first time that an unranked Tar Heels team defeated a top-five Duke since 1990.
Three Tar Heels finished in double figures, led by Leslie McDonald who finished the night with 21 points and four rebounds. James Michael McAdoo finished with unquestionably the best performance, landing himself a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the stunning upset.
Roy Williams’ team hit their final 10 free throws down the stretch to put this one away.
Now, the Blue Devils immediately need to turn their focus to their huge rematch with Syracuse on Saturday night, while North Carolina’s tournament chances look a little bit better.