|Duke Blue Devils||62|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||57|
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – If North Carolina ended the rivalry with Duke last year with a historic pair of wins, the Blue Devils didn’t get the memo.
With 22 points from freshman forward Kyle Filipowski, Duke beat the Tar Heels 62-57 to sweep the regular season and put UNC’s NCAA Tournament chances on the edge of the bubble.
It was UNC (19-12), with many of the same players who were on the court Saturday night, that handed Duke a loss in legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game and final game.
The latter was in the Final Four, which was the rivals’ first time meeting in the NCAA Tournament.
Some UNC fans have argued the rivalry, which has produced the national champion nine times in the past 32 years, is over.
Instead, Duke (23-8) regrouped. Jon Scheyer replaced Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils brought in a new batch of highly rated rookies, including Filipowski and guard Tyrese Proctor (13 points).
Senior forward Armando Bacot led UNC with 17 points, but the Tar Heels shot 22% from the 3-point line.
Bacot, Caleb Love and RJ Davis were central to UNC’s end-of-season run in 2022, which included a 94-81 win at Duke and an 81-77 victory over the New Orleans Blue Devils in the Final. Oven.
The group returned and entered the season as ACC favorites and preseason No. 1 in the nation. But the season-ending magic of 22 was impossible to replicate.
With a 1-9 record in Quadrant 1 games, the Heels will need to make a deep run in next week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro to avoid becoming the first preseason No. 1 team to miss the NCAA Tournament.
Duke ends the regular season with a 14-6 record in ACC play in Scheyer’s first season.
Duke led 33-31 at halftime and 43-36 with 14:03 left in the second half, but Bacot was able to get to work on the inside and Davis found contact from the 3-point line .
Davis’ 3 at 12:15 tied the game at 43, then he hit another at 9:01 to give UNC a 46-45 advantage.
A Pete Nance 3 at 8:30 extended UNC’s lead to 49-45.
But Duke stayed close and a late layup from guard Jeremy Roach gave them a 60-57 lead with 47.4 seconds left and UNC couldn’t find an answer in the final stretch.
Love’s 3-pointer was the highlight of the Final Four victory. Love had another 3 on Saturday night in the dying seconds, with a chance to tie, but his shot was too hard.
The long rebound ended with Filipowski on a quick break alone for the final field goal of the game.
This year marks the first since 1960 (excluding pandemic season in 2021) that both teams are unranked in the rivalry game.
But the pre-season No. 1 and National Championship runners-up from a year ago have struggled this season. The Tar Heels’ 11-8 ACC record puts them in 7th place in the conference. A win over Duke would seem like a necessary part of a spot in the NCAA, a loss would almost require an ACC Tournament win to get them back into the Field of 64 conversation.
Fan Aaron Brown told WRAL News he drove three hours to watch the game.
“We’ve got a hotel, we’re ready to go. North Carolina better take it tonight,” he said.
Duke’s 13-6 conference record is enough for the ACC’s 4th seed to enter Saturday’s final regular season games. That’s key for the upcoming conference tournament, when the top four seeds get a double bye, but the 5th seed has a four-game road to the championship.
A lot is at stake atop the ACC standings on Saturday night.
Pitt and Miami, each 14-5 and ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively in the conference, face off at 6 p.m., while Clemson, 5th and 13-6, meets Notre Dame at 8 p.m.