UNC holds off Duke, 74-69

It's the second year in a row that the two have met in the ACC semifinals, with Duke upsetting North Carolina 93-83 last year.

So as he is wont to do, he sent five new players onto the floor to see if they could do any better.

"We're not going to win a game against a team that caliber if we turned it over 18 times", Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Those two guys have gotten most of the accolades, but it is a team out there, and I'm happy about that".

That first basket and the free throw that followed it finally lit a spark under the Tar Heels, who came all the way back to take the lead by halftime then pulled away for an 82-65 victory at Barclays Center that avenged a heartbreaking Senior Night loss to the Hurricanes just over a week ago.

"So we really have to lock in and just come together and just try to figure everything out that we need to figure out and just continue to get wins". They got it. It's done.

"You gotta be locked in", Williams said.

Woods' pivotal basket was the first points he's scored since the MI game back on November 29.

"We kind of played the game in different stages today, and we have to play it at the same stage throughout", Krzyzewski said.

"We beat a really good team tonight". Duke made a 13-0 run and got as close as three points, 72-69, with 49.1 seconds left, but saw its six-game winning streak over the Tar Heels in the ACC tournament come to an end.

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But it was anything but easy.

Bagley, who posted his 20th double-double of the season in the Notre Dame win, tied for third-most points by a freshman in an ACC Tournament game, matching the 33 points scored Georgia Tech's Mark Price in the 1983 semifinals versus Virginia. To sweeten the rivalry pot, these two teams split their regular season series with the home team victorious in each of two games.

"That's not the first time I've been in a situation where I had to hold the ball, but it's the first time I lost it like that", Pinson said. "We were in the same situation last week. I'm old-school. I like to have some guys that can stay and have a special relationship with for a long time".

They've already taken two of three from rival Duke and won single games against Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State and Clemson. I mean, they settled us down. "We can't get to that position". After the Tar Heels missed their first 13 shots, Seventh Woods ended the drought with an and-one layup, 7:09 into the game. That's a common theme lately for Pinson, who has become far more aggressive and is averaging an absurd 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals over his last eight games.

"To be back where we want to be, playing for an ACC championship, is big", Williams said. "That's what he did tonight".

UNC grabbed a second half lead at Duke last week and couldn't hold on.

Arkansas freshman Daniel Gafford added 16 points and also matched his career-best with 12 rebounds, keying an effort that saw the Razorbacks outrebound the Gators 43-28.

Bagley III, just the second player in ACC history to be named ACC Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season, leads the ACC in scoring (21.2) and leads in rebounding (11.4). "And I think that's the biggest thing for us". But Allen's forced three-point attempt never found iron - say what you will about Allen, but he too forced the action and you had to respect that he has spent four years pulling triggers in a rain of boos.

  • Lawrence Cooper