Duke ends Tar Heels' 12-game winning streak
DURHAM — Rodney Hood assured the worst-kept secret on beating Duke the remainder of the season.
“This is the way we’re going to win,” Hood said after he and freshman Jabari Parker combined for 54 points to lead the Blue Devils past North Carolina 93-81 Saturday night.
Duke popped North Carolina’s 12-game winning streak in bouncing back from a lackluster loss at Wake Forest and overcoming the Tar Heels’ 59.6-percent shooting. The Blue Devils also power-cleaned the glass (34-20 edge, 16-6 offensive), made 6 of 10 from 3-point range in the second half and 27 of 31 free throws.
“We’re a completely different team,” Hood said of he and Parker excelling simultaneously. “Offensively, it’s hard to guard both of us at the same time.”
Nationally fourth-ranked Duke (24-7, 13-5 ACC) secured the third seed to this week’s ACC tournament and will play Friday night’s last quarterfinal game. The Devils may also have gained an edge for the NCAA subregional in Raleigh alongside ACC regular season champion Virginia.
The No. 14 Tar Heels (23-8, 13-5 ACC), losing to a Top 25 team for just the second time in seven outings, will be the fourth seed for the ACC tournament and play Friday afternoon’s second game.
“Fifty-four points is a lot of points from two kids,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who showed no ill effects of a medical spell endured at Wake. “They’re really good.”
Parker scored 30 points, had 11 rebounds and only one turnover in 35 minutes. Hood scored 24 points.
“Jabari, that’s as aggressive as I’ve seen him in a long time,” said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. “Jabari and Rodney, we had a tough time trying to stop them. By the end of the night, we still didn’t know how.”
North Carolina was able to rally from 11 down to beat Duke in Chapel Hill on Feb 20. On this night, Duke got a three-point play from Hood for a 47-39 lead, and 3-pointers from Andre Dawkins, Hood and Parker to build a 74-55 cushion with just over eight minutes to play.
The lead dwindled to eight, 81-73, before Duke recovered in the final 2:49.
“We knew we had to go to the basket, and get free throws,” Parker said.
Quinn Cook added 11 points and six assists for Duke, and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 10 points. Amile Jefferson chipped in eight points, eight boards and three steals.
North Carolina was hampered by the extended absence of Kennedy Meeks (illness, 12 minutes played) and James Michael McAdoo (foul trouble). McAdoo got his third foul with just over five minutes left in the first half, and his fourth in the opening minute after intermission.
North Carolina shot more than 50 percent and lost under Williams' direction for the first time. They had been 141-0 in his 11 seasons.
Duke led 40-37 at the break and scored 10 of the first 12 points after it.
Marcus Paige drained 24 points to lead the Tar Heels. Brice Johnson had 15, McAdoo 13 and Leslie McDonald 12.
“We operate on a thin line,” Williams said. “We really need Marcus and James Michael in there. We have to overcome that.”
Duke completed its 18th undefeated season at Cameron and extended the nation’s longest homecourt winning streak to 33 games. The Blue Devils are 4-3 against the Top 25, with three of the wins following defeats.
Duke hasn’t lost back to back games since 2009-10.
It was the final Cameron appearance for Dawkins, Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston and Todd Zafirovski.
“I wish I had more time,” Dawkins said. “It’s crazy how fast the season has gone. But I got to go out undefeated at home, and to beat Carolina in my last home game, I’ll remember that forever.”
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