Last night, North Carolina had their most satisfying win in their programs history. They took down the Duke Blue Devils, in the rivalries 1st March Madness game against each other. But not only that, North Carolina took down Mike Krzyzewski, in his final season as a coach for the Duke Blue Devils.
The game started off very slow. Both teams were shooting extremely inefficient and not playing to their full capabilities. After about 5 minutes, the game started to open up. Towards the final 10 minutes, Duke played like the better team, to lead by 3 at halftime. However, Paolo Banchero, who finished the game with 20 points, didn’t exactly play great in the 1st half. Then once he did, Duke started to blow away, taking a 7 point lead.
This is usually where Duke starts to get things going and North Carolina folds. However, this game was different. North Carolina responded with a 13-0 run, taking a 6 point lead and forcing Duke to talk it over. That was where the game really fell apart for Duke. While the game continued to be close, when you are up by 7 and get outscored 13-0, it’s hard to respond. But then, with about 5 minutes to go in regulation, Armando Bacot went down with an injury.
Bacot was one of the top players in the ACC this season. In the 5 games he’s played, he’s finished with a double-double. And the amount of rebounds he gets in absurd. He had 21 rebounds against Duke in this game. He was also, their key defender, forcing future NBA player Mike Williams into foul trouble since the first 4 minutes in. You would probably think that since it was a tie game when Bacot went down that Duke would start to dominate. They didn’t!
With Bacot out for 2 minutes, North Carolina stayed in the game. Duke did not take advantage of Bacot out since they hardly drove to the paint nor got it to Williams to in the paint. Then Bacot came in with about 3 minutes left and fouled out with about 1.5 left. So, Duke had 3.5 of the last 5 minutes with Bacot not on the floor. And they didn’t win!
Others stepped up for Duke. Caleb Love and RJ Davis were amazing. Davis hit a big 3 pointer for North Carolina down the stretch and was a very reliable player. North Carolina took a 4 point lead and Duke never came back. Love hit some big shots and North Carolina loved the moment of ending Mike Krzyzewski’s career and stopping their arch nemesis from a championship!
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