DURHAM — North Carolina basketball and Duke delivered another classic Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
This time, the Tar Heels were on the losing end of a thriller with the Blue Devils claiming a 63-57 win to snap a two-game losing streak in college basketball’s fiercest rivalry.
Dereck Lively II had a monster game with 14 rebounds, eight blocks and the knockout for Duke (17-6, 8-4 ACC), which saw Jeremy Roach add 20 points – including free throws – to help the ‘effort.
KEY STATISTICS:What UNC basketball’s Hubert Davis said about Tar Heels’ lack of free throws in loss to Duke
Four players finished with double-digit points for UNC (15-8, 7-5). Armando Bacot (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Leaky Black (13 points, 10 rebounds) turned in double-double performances, with Caleb Love scoring 12 points and RJ Davis adding 11.
But unlike the Tar Heels’ 2022 wins over the Blue Devils, UNC faltered in the last encounter. After tying the game at 57, the Heels failed to score in the final four minutes, missing their last five shots of the game.
Armando Bacot keeps UNC afloat
In a choppy first half that saw the two teams combine to miss 40 of their 66 shot attempts, Bacot kept the Tar Heels afloat with 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists as UNC entered the locker rooms 33-32.
Despite the defensive prowess of Duke freshman Dereck Lively II — who had four blocks in the first half — UNC had a 16-14 advantage in the paint with six layups and two dunks.
After struggling in the loss to Pitt, RJ Davis got off to a strong start with six points and three assists before committing his second foul with 8:44 left in the first half.
But Duke thrived in the transition with a 16-0 advantage in quick break points. The Blue Devils outscored UNC 20-2 in open ground.
Wake Forest, Clemson next door
Things don’t get any easier for the Tar Heels, who travel to Wake Forest (15-9, 7-6) on Tuesday (7 p.m., ESPN) before hosting Clemson (18-6, 10-3) on Saturday (2 p.m. , ESPN2) at the Smith Center. The Tigers are among the top three teams in the ACC standings.
Editor Rodd Baxley can be reached at email@example.com or @RoddBaxley on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Unpacking UNC basketball’s loss at Duke – and Armando Bacot’s big game
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