Closing Is Key To UNC Having Success Against Duke

North Carolina, which averages more than 16 offensive rebounds, matched a season low with 7 while Duke chased down 24 of UNC's misses. Senior forwards Oderah Chidom and Kendall Cooper also played key roles with 16 and 12 points and Lexie Brown almost recorded a triple-double with 9 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Jayson Tatum couldn't make it to his locker before he was met by a storm of media after Thursday's game. N.C. State, conversely, hasn't won a game since that January 23 upset at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He and Allen embraced after the final horn as Cameron Crazies and Duke fans young and old lingered to celebrate. In the weeks that followed, Allen was dogged by controversy and poor play, the two feeding into each other. He looks like he's returning to star status, which will only make Duke more risky.

Allen had in part been plagued by increased responsibilities at point guard, responsibilities he wasn't accustomed to handling.

Without Hicks, the Heels weren't almost as aggressive on the boards and were matched by Duke in offensive rebounds, making it even more fantastic the game was so close considering that the Blue Devils made 52 percent of their shots, 48 percent from behind the arc.

Allen started the game in rhythm.

When Berry hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 12:14 to play, the Tar Heels led 63-59.

Allen was reduced to cheerleader in that final minute, and for Duke, it was a huge minute. Jackson's 2-pointer from the baseline completed the run, which turned a 19-14 deficit into a 22-19 lead. This was far from UNC's best game of the season, but it came down to that loose ball in the last half-minute. North Carolina got piecemeal contributions from a five-man guard rotation. Carolina is suddenly dealing with an injury to Isaiah Hicks. The Tar Heels made eight shots in a row during one stretch, getting the ball inside and effectively driving to the basket, to surge back in front. "We'll get them back at our place". Jackson, a 6-foot-8 junior wing, has made more 3s this season (66) than he did in his first two seasons combined (63).

Jackson has now scored 20 or more points in five of his last six games as he went 8-for-13 from the floor with two three-pointers.

"Because everybody's capable of knocking each other off in this league, I said, 'Every game, you're playing for your basketball season, '" Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. There are three teams with three losses atop the ACC standings and three more only one game back.

Jalen Henry scored 22 points with nine rebounds and Burak Eslik had 18 points for the Cougars (5-21, 0-12), who made only four of 20 from the arc.

The dunk got Tatum going too.

Although simple, Kennard's elation on top of beating his team's rival seemed to reflect the simple understanding that what the Blue Devils had been focusing on most really had clear cut results. Meeks began to have his way inside, and Joel Berry, who had been quiet, drilled his first 3 of the game.

Allen's also become just the third player in program history to hit at least six 3-pointers in consecutive games, joining Jason Williams and Trajan Langdon.

Maintaining that kind of effort consistently will be a key factor for the Tar Heels as they attempt to pick themselves back up and prevent any further stumbles through their tough closing schedule.

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