Jon Scheyer’s first game as Duke head coach against UNC went perfectly as the youthful Blue Devils proved too much for the veteran Tar Heels.
The Duke-UNC rivalry was renewed in 2023 without Mike Krzyzewski at the helm of the Blue Devils for the first time since 1980.
Coach K went out with a loss in the rivalry last year. Jon Scheyer wanted to get his reign off to a strong start with a victory. And he did just that.
Jeremy Roach led the way with 20 points while freshman center Dereck Lively II announced himself with 14 rebounds and eight blocks in his rivalry debut. Duke won 63-57.
Best memes and tweets after Duke beat UNC
Here’s what Twitter had to say about the outcome and performance.
Duke fans are rightly encouraged by the performance, especially the immense promise shown by freshmen like Lively. They managed to keep UNC’s Armando Bacot quiet in the final stretch of the game while holding the Tar Heels to 34.3 percent shooting from the field across the game. The Blue Devils outrebounded their opponents 46-40 while forcing 12 turnovers and giving away seven.
Neither Duke nor North Carolina are having a particularly great season, sitting sixth and seventh in the ACC respectively. The rivalry game was seen as a chance for both sides to make a statement ahead of the final stretch of the season.
We’ll see if this propels the Blue Devils forward or if the Tar Heels will use the close loss to motivate them through to the regular season finale in March when they will take on Duke at home.