March 19, 2019

Duke Basketball: Blue Devils defeat North Carolina in an instant classic

16 March 2019, 11:39 | Anna Jefferson

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson

The Blue Devils weren't much better from long-range, hitting just 25 percent of their attempts.

Williamson and the Blue Devils got off to a slow start in Charlotte and trailed North Carolina by as many as 13 points in the first half, but after opening the game 2-of-6 from the floor, Williamson went 11-of-13 for the rest of the game, and was Duke's only reliable source of offense down the stretch in a tight game. The senior entered the game shooting 38.5 percent and scored just five points in the first meeting between the teams on January 5 at John Paul Jones Arena.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski repeatedly mentioned Goldwire, in particular, as a huge key to the victory. "And then Antonio, that's a little bit of a surprise, but he's had a great attitude and if you find some guys like that, now they have confidence, that's good".

Florida State comes into this one with a 27-6 mark overall.

In true blue fashion, Zion Williamson never entertained the idea of an injury shutdown, instead focusing on riding out the NCAA Season with his teammates and a National Championship win. And to make matters all the sweeter, the Blue Devils clinched the W over their bitter rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Long and quick, Florida State excelled at both ends, affecting U.Va. shots near and far.

"[We] can't be satisfied", junior Javin DeLaurier said.

With a loss, Duke would leave its fate in the hands of the selection committee. RJ Barrett added 15 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Blue Devils in that one as well.

"The way I see it, we got another game tomorrow", Barrett said when asked about whether he thought Duke was a No. 1 seed. "I think we'll be just fine".

For all the Blue Devils did well in order to exact their revenge on North Carolina, they were far from ideal. The Seminoles built a 35-31 at halftime behind the inside play of Koumadje, who had seven points and nine rebounds in the first half after registering just two points and two rebounds in a 65-52 loss to Virginia earlier this season.

"It was obvious that our kids were really locked in for this game, and a lot of it is because we have such a tremendous amount of respect for the job that Tony does and the legacy he's built at Virginia", Seminoles Coach Leonard Hamilton said of the ACC coach of the year.

Stick with Keeping It Heel for all the latest on UNC basketball as we approach the big dance.

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