The sight of Tyus Jones crumpling to the floor after a made lay-up had to send fear through the Duke faithful. It also sent Grayson Allen to the floor.
Allen joined the Blue Devils’ other two reserves — Marshall Plumlee and Amile Jefferson — and that trio, along with Matt Jones and Quinn Cook, helped Duke retake the lead in the Blue Devils’ 84-77 victory at North Carolina.
Marcus Paige made both of his free throws before play resumed, giving the Tar Heels a 51-48 lead with 12:56 to play. The next possession resulted in a Jones miss, a Plumlee rebound and a tip-in from Jefferson off of an Allen missed 3. That got Duke to within one point, at 51-50.
Paige missed a 3 at the other end, and Cook started the ball up the floor. Another offensive rebound, this one by Jefferson, extended the Duke possession, and Matt Jones swished a step-back 3, shaking Theo Pinson in the process, to give Duke the 53-51 lead.
It was the Blue Devils’ first lead since 24-23, with 6:15 left in the first half.
After the media timeout with 11:41 left in the game, coach Mike Krzyzewski opted to stay with the mostly-reserve lineup, and the group delivered again, as Allen hit a 3 on the next possession to extend the Duke lead to five, 56-51.
Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor returned at the next stoppage of play, and the duo helped preserve the lead they inherited with a combined 17 points down the stretch.
Still, when the Blue Devils needed plays, with Tyus Jones’ back spasms landing him on the bench, it was a largely unheralded crew that got it done, turning a three-point deficit into a five-point lead.