Round three goes to the Tar Heels. It appeared that the Tar Heels would advance in a double-digit victory after being up 16 with five and a half minutes. Then, the momentum turned to Duke and college basketball's greatest rivalry was put on display in the Barclay's Center on Friday night.
Duke went on a 13-0 after Luke Maye hit a jumper to make it 72-56 Tar Heels. The Blue Devils cut the deficit to three after Gary Trent Jr. knocked down a contested three with 50 seconds left. Duke had an opportunity to tie and ball was put in the hands of senior Grayson Allen who attempted to draw a foul on Luke Maye behind the three point line. He couldn't capitalize. Theo Pinson knocked down two free throws to seal the deal and North Carolina came out on top 74-69.
Pinson was facilitating for the Tar Heels all night long with seven assists and was beneficiary for shredding Duke's zone defense. He finished with eight points along with three steals on the night. He was the only starter not in double figures. Maye had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Garrison Brooks had 10 points off the bench.
North Carolina advances to the ACC Championship to play No. 1 Virginia (30-2). The Tar Heels victory over Duke snaps a six-game ACC Tournament losing streak against Duke. The last time North Carolina beat Duke in the ACC tournament was back in 1998.
Marvin Bagley III came off a 33 point, 17 rebound performance against Notre Dame in the Quarterfinal. He put up 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds shooting 7-13 in 39 minutes. Wendell Carter finished with 14 points and had nine rebounds along with four blocks. Gary Trent Jr. had a team high 20 points and pulled down six rebounds in 30 minutes on the floor. All those players are freshman and more than likely will leave Duke to play in the NBA.
Early in the first half, nothing was going right for Duke when it came to take care of the ball and scoring. They turned the ball over six times in their first 14 possessions and only made one field goal in the first 10 minutes.
Late in the first half, Duke's Allen was involved in a controversial hip check on North Carolina's Garrison Brooks with 52.7 left. Allen received a Flagrant 1. Allen stuck out his hip enough to bump the 6-9 freshman while he was in full stride. Brooks knocked down both free throws. Allen is infamous for tripping two opponents in his sophomore year and committed another trip as a junior. Allen finished with 16 points and shot 4-10 from deep.
Duke has 20 ACC Championships. North Carolina is searching for their 19th tournament championship. Both teams are 100-45 in the conference tournament.