As many Duke-UNC rivalries have gone in the past, the first half was back and forth between the two teams. At the half UNC led Duke 48-46.
The game started with UNC junior guard Joel Berry catching fire first. He started the game making four of his first four shots from the field for 11 points. UNC led at that point. He finished the half with 19 points.
Then it was Duke sophomore guard Luke Kennard’s turn. He scored 11 points of his own, and made four of his first five shots from the floor. Two of those field goals were 3-pointers that banked off the back board and went into the basket. He finished with 13 points on 5 for 8 shooting.
While Berry slowed down briefly, he stayed hot and finished the half with 19 points on 6 for 8 shooting.
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The Blue Devils shot 54 percent from the floor in the first half. The Tar Heels shot 50 percent from the floor.
At the start of the game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski started Frank Jackson and brought Grayson Allen off the bench for the second straight game. Jackson scored a career-high 22 points in the Blue Devils’ 75-70 win over Florida State at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
UNC coach Roy Williams started all five seniors, including forwards Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, and guards Kanler Coker, Stilman White and Nate Britt. Foul trouble has been a problem for Hicks in recent games. He has only one foul, and has scored 10 points.
Saturday night’s game will affect the ACC tournament brackets. Louisville beat Notre Dame on Saturday, which could potentially create a three-way tie-breaker.
So if Duke wins tonight, then Louisville gets the No. 3 seed in the ACC tournament, Duke gets the No. 4 seed and Notre Dame will be the No. 5 seed. If UNC wins, then Notre Dame gets the No. 3 see, followed by Louisville with the No. 4 seed, and Duke with the No. 5 seed.