Brandon Ingram scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as undermanned Duke overcame another injury and a huge performance by Brice Johnson to beat North Carolina 74-73 on Wednesday night.
With North Carolina’s best player dominating the game and with Duke’s captain lost with an apparent ankle injury, the game’s outcome seemed to be a foregone conclusion. And yet, the Blue Devils managed to hang around.
Duke, which trailed by as many as eight in the second half, finally took the lead for good with 1:09 remaining on a pair of Grayson Allen free throws. Over the next 70 seconds the Blue Devil defense would generate a pair of stops - the final coming when Derryck Thornton blocked Joel Berry’s attempted jumper - to give the team an improbable victory over the fifth ranked Tar Heels.
Allen finished with 23 points while Luke Kennard added 15 points off the bench in relief of the injured Matt Jones as Duke finished the first half without subbing in the final seven and a half minutes and then didn’t go to the bench for the final ten and half minutes in the second.
Brice Johnson finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds while Justin Jackson added 13 points.
The victory improved Duke to 9-4 in conference play and puts the Blue Devils just one game out of first place in the ACC standings while holding the tie-breaker against North Carolina which dropped to 10-4 in league play.null