Allen leads No. 18 Duke past No. 8 UNC, 86-78
By JOEDY McCREARY
AP Sports Writer
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Grayson Allen scored 25 points and No. 18 Duke beat No. 8 North Carolina 86-78 on Thursday night.
Luke Kennard added 20 points and freshman Jayson Tatum had all 19 of his in the second half to help the Blue Devils (19-5, 7-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their fourth straight.
Justin Jackson scored 21 points and Joel Berry II finished with 15 for the Tar Heels (21-5, 9-3), who were just 10 of 18 from the free throw line — 8 of 15 in the second half — in dropping into a first-place tie with Florida State.
This renewal of one of college basketball’s fiercest rivalries lived up to its pedigree, with 17 lead changes, nine ties and neither team leading by more than eight points.
With former Duke greats Christian Laettner and J.J. Redick looking on from the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Allen hit the most important shot of the night, a 3-pointer over Jackson with about 1:15 left to put the Blue Devils up 80-75.
After Berry hit two free throws with 1:02 left to pull the Tar Heels within three, Duke played keep away and that set up an open 3-pointer for Tatum that bounced high off the back iron. Matt Jones beat Berry to the rebound and Frank Jackson then hit a free throw to put the Blue Devils up 81-77.
Berry raced down court and missed an up-and-under layup, and Tatum grabbed the rebound with about 20 seconds remaining to put Duke in control.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels, who entered as the nation’s second-best team on the offensive boards, couldn’t turn enough of their misses into second-chance points. North Carolina, which averages more than 16 offensive rebounds, matched a season low with seven while Duke chased down 24 of UNC’s misses. Of course, it didn’t help that the Tar Heels played without starting forward Isaiah Hicks, the team’s No. 3 scorer and rebounder who strained a hamstring during practice Wednesday.
Duke: This looked more like the Blue Devils team that was picked No. 1 in the preseason, and for good reason — all their components, players and coach alike, were healthy. The result was the marquee victory to date on Duke’s NCAA Tournament resume.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels have the weekend off and visit another Triangle rival — North Carolina State — on Feb. 15.
Duke: The Blue Devils face a quick turnaround, with Clemson coming to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
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