No. 18 Duke outlasts No. 8 North Carolina

Tricia Pearson
February 10, 2017

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So far it's been a doozy of a ballgame between Duke and North Carolina.

Matt Jones has struggled from deep, but could be a boon for Duke if he heats up.

Tonight marks the 243rd match-up in the historic Tobacco Road Rivalry between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tarheels and the Duke Blue Devils.

The Tar Heels have lost just four times.

Duke and Carolina have somehow managed to spilt the last 96 meetings between themselves with the exact same number of points being scored, so the chances of this being close was always good. Duke played very well, and UNC was not able to score as easily in the paint or rebound as effectively without Hicks on the floor. INJURY REPORT:Tar Heels - F Theo Pinson (Questionable, ankle).

The sting shouldn't linger for the eighth-ranked Tar Heels (21-5, 9-3), either. His physicality and size provide quite the challenge for Amile Jefferson and Harry Giles, who must take the body and attack the glass on the defensive end.

"We didn't move, but I think their defense was part of that", Williams told reporters.

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Berry raced down the court and missed an up-and-under layup, and Tatum grabbed the rebound with about 20 seconds remaining to put Duke in control.

He picked a big stage to do so.

The Tar Heels are 6-0 with Pinson in the lineup this season. They are led by senior center Kennedy Meeks who records 9.6 rebounds per game. The big problem: For most of the season, they haven't been available at the same time.

Although simple, Kennard's elation on top of beating his team's rival seemed to reflect the simple understanding that what the Blue Devils had been focusing on most really had clear cut results. "He's going to learn and continue to get better". Tatum racked up 19 points and 14 boards on an efficient 8-14 from the field. And despite missing his first shot and picking up a foul on the ensuing possession, he helped North Carolina jump out to an 11-8 lead after the first media timeout with two points and two assists.

Nearly two weeks later, Tatum exuded a wide grin as he stood at the middle of the locker room, knowing the Blue Devils are peaking and playing the way many expected them to before the season started.

What else to watch for... As a team, the Tar Heels got only seven offensive rebounds - only half as many as the usual.

That left Carolina without its third-leading scorer and rebounder. His contributions could make the difference for UNC tonight.

"He did a great job of responding in the second half", Grayson Allen said. For Duke, beating UNC just means it has started to figure out what it can be, now that it has the Grayson Allen it expected all season.

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