Much like the 2012 season Duke hung around and refused to go away before stealing a win in Chapel Hill against North Carolina. Now, the Blue Devils will look to avoid the return matchup turning ugly against the favored Tar Heels in Durham.
After Austin Rivers’ shocked the Tar Heels early in the 2012 season, North Carolina came back with a vengeance in the return contest. In that second game of the season Duke fell behind early and was completely overwhelmed, eventually losing by 18.
Since that time Duke has taken a firm and undeniable control of college basketball’s best rivalry, winning six of seven games.
Much like the season four years back, North Carolina has the more talented and nationally celebrated roster. And, just like in 2012, Duke seemingly stole the first game of the season series, winning in Chapel Hill by one.
With the second game of the year taking place on Saturday, Duke will need to build on the adjustments made by head coach Mike Krzyzewski that allowed his team to hang around and eventually take the lead late in the second half.
For much of that first half of the first game Duke had no answer for Bryce Johnson, the Tar Heel senior who recorded 29 points and 19 rebounds. In the final 10 minutes of the game, however, North Carolina seemed to forget about the best player on the court, which allowed Duke to slowly begin to rally.
Aside from adjusting the defense to deny the ball to Johnson, Duke got offensive lifts from both Brandon Ingram (20 points and 10 rebounds) and Grayson Allen (23 points, seven rebounds). After junior Matt Jones was lost with an ankle injury, Duke turned to Luke Kennard who finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
The Blue Devils enter the game having beaten Wake Forest by eight on Tuesday while the Tar Heels have won three of their last four including a 25 point beat down of Miami.