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Zion Williamson injured as No. 1 Duke falls to No. 8 UNC

Zion Williamson injured as Duke falls to North Carolina

Check out photos from UNC's win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC Wednesday night, Feb. 20, 2019.
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Check out photos from UNC's win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC Wednesday night, Feb. 20, 2019.

No. 1 Duke lost star freshman Zion WiIliamson to a knee injury before a point was scored on Wednesday night and put up little resistance against No. 8 North Carolina.

The Tar Heels dominated inside, with senior forward Luke Maye producing 30 points and 14 rebounds, to beat the Blue Devils 88-72 in ACC basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Averaging 22.4 points per game, the 6-7 Williamson left the game 34 seconds into play when his shoe ripped while he was planting his left foot. His right knee buckled. He limped off the floor under his own power but didn’t return.

North Carolina (21-5, 11-2 ACC) took advantage and never trailed. The Tar Heels scored 62 points in the paint while shooting 50.7 percent. Cam Johnson scored 26 points while 6-9 sophomore forward Garrison Brooks added 14 points for UNC.

Star freshman Zion Williamson is injured in opening moments and doesn't return as UNC wins 88-72

Duke (23-3, 11-2 ACC) shot just 34.7 percent, including 8 of 39 on 3-pointers (20.5 percent), to see its nine-game winning streak end. The Blue Devils turned the ball over a season-high 20 times.

RJ Barrett led Duke with 33 points and 13 rebounds while fellow freshman Cam Reddish scored a season-high 27 points.

UNC grabbed a 10-point halftime lead over cold-shooting Duke and started the second-half red hot from the field to turn the game lopsided.

The Tar Heels hit eight of their first nine shots of the half, with Johnson scoring eight points, during a 17-5 run that gave the a 59-37 lead with 15:55 to play.

RAL_DUKEUNC5SP022019CEL.JPG
Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) holds his knee after blowing out his shoe early in the game. He did not return and suffered a sprained knee. UNC defeated Duke 88-72 at Cameron Indoor Stadium In Durham, N.C., Wed., Feb.20, 2019. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

After making just two of its first seven shots after halftime Duke heated up in a comeback attempt.

Three-pointers from Barrett and Tre Jones left UNC with a 63-48 lead with 12 minutes to play.

Barrett’s layup in transition with 9:39 left trimmed the Tar Heels lead to 67-54.

But a Brooks shot inside, a driving layin by Seventh Woods and Woods splitting two free throws extended UNC’s lead back to 72-55 with 8:33 left.

After Barrett missed a 3-pointer, a Woods layup with 8:02 left gave the Tar Heels a 74-55 lead.

Williamson’s injury, combined with his teammates’ poor shooting, allowed UNC to take a 42-32 halftime lead.

The Blue Devils hit only 2 of 20 3-pointers in the first half while shooting 32.5 percent overall.

Only three Duke players scored over the first 20 minutes: Barrett with 15, Reddish with 13 and Javin DeLaurier with four points.

Behind Maye’s 18 first-half points and 12 more from Johnson, UNC led by as many as 13 points in the first half.

After trailing 30-17, Duke used a 9-2 run to cut UNC’s lead to 32-26.

Two Barrett free throws with 1:30 to play in the half left Duke trailing 37-32.

But the Tar Heels scored the final five points of the half on a Maye free throw, two Johnson free throws and Brooks’ dunk with one second left for a 42-32 UNC lead.

Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over the Blue Devils

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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