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Duke 74 UNC 73

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the game UNC looked like the better team but never could quite open the lead up enough. Duke hung around and in the end stole a win in Chapel Hill for a fourth straight win in the series 74-73.

So much went well for the Tar Heels as the game started with UNC clearly ready to play, being aggressive and had a game plan that worked. The first half saw both Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson providing much of the production. UNC had complete control of the offensive glass and leveraged it for a 15-8 edge in second chance points. Johnson got anything he wanted on the way to 18 points and 11 rebounds in the first half. Jackson was also aggressive collecting 11 points. However UNC showed a tendency in the first half to really grab the game by the throat. UNC opened up a 30-24 lead but gave up a three and two minutes later lead was one. Again UNC went ahead by six 44-38 but gave up two straight baskets and led by just four at the break. Duke also lost Matt Jones to an ankle injury leaving the Blue Devils very shorthanded going into the second half.

After Duke opened the half with three to cut the lead to 46-45, UNC reeled off six straight to lead seven with the ball coming out of a Duke timeout. Johnson missed a jumper followed by Brandon Ingram's three to cut the lead to four.  The lead would hover between as little as two and as much as eight through the remainder of the half with the Tar Heels missing chances time and time again to really extend the lead. With UNC up 52-45 and Duke's Marshall Plumlee saddled with foul trouble the Tar Heels began to settle for jump shots and failed to exploit advantages in the post.

Entering the final 11 minutes of the game Johnson had 27 points. He would score just once more the remainder of the game. During that span Paige missed two three and Berry missed two jumpers. Duke closed the lead to 62-60. UNC responded with a basket from Isaiah Hicks, free throws from Paige and a Jackson putback to restore the lead to eight with 6:49 remaining. Duke cut into the lead again but Johnson's final points of the contest on a dunk put UNC ahead 70-66 with 4:45 left.

Having missed chances to extend the lead on multiple occasions UNC found itself in a situation where it needed to stop two players that presented obvious match-up problems. 11 combined points from Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen fueled 14-5 run that gave Duke a 74-73 lead with 17 seconds left.

Following a missed shot UNC had a chance with 17 seconds left but was discombobulated on offense from the start. Roy Williams opted not to call a timeout, a decision he said afterwards was a mistake on his part. Berry attempted to drive but couldn't get a clean look and UNC dropped a fourth straight game to Duke. It was the second time in as many season, UNC held control of the game late but collapsed.

Brice Johnson finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds but just one basket over the final eleven minutes. Jackson was UNC's only other player in double figures with 13 points but only two after halftime. UNC outrebounded Duke 46-38 and enjoyed a 25-11 edge in second chance points. After a 46 point first half UNC scored just 27 after halftime.