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MENS BASKETBALL


North Carolina 84, Duke 79

North Carolina 84, Duke 79

AARON BEARD
ASSOCIATED PRESS

DURHAM, N.C. - Cormac Ryan scored a season-high 31 points, including a huge 3-pointer with 1:38 left, to help No. 7 North Carolina beat No. 9 Duke 84-79, claiming the Atlantic Coast Conference’s regular-season title outright for the first time in seven years.

Ryan made 8 of 12 shots and 6 of 8 3s to help UNC turn away push after push from its fierce rival — and Ryan made sure to let Duke’s famous “Cameron Crazies” hear it with some excited reactions.

Ryan closed out the game with two clinching free throws with 4.7 seconds left for the Tar Heels (25-6, 17-3 ACC).

When the clock expired, Ryan and several UNC players waved goodbye to the fans in a taunting farewell and gathered near the center court press-row table. Multiple Duke fans responded by throwing water and at least one empty plastic water bottle at them, leaving the court a slick mess near that sideline.

Harrison Ingram added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot 50% for the game. UNC ran out to a 15-point lead with a dominant start, then stayed in control all night.

Kyle Filipowski had 23 points to lead the Blue Devils (24-7, 15-5), who had retired Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski making a rare courtside appearance for the game. Duke got as close as a single point early in the second half but never completely recovered from a Ryan-led flurry out of the gate.

There was also a familiar bit of rivalry testiness aside from the drink-throwing fans. That came after Filipowski and Ingram had ended up on the floor after Duke’s star big man contested Ingram’s shot at the six-minute mark of the first half.

As Ingram got up to run back on defense, Filipowski kicked up his right leg and tripped Ingram back down to the hardwood near midcourt.

UNC coach Hubert Davis immediately started frantically motioning for officials to look at the replay, but there was no whistle, stoppage or review as the rivalry battle continued.

The Tar Heels led 40-31 at halftime, and Duke made its best sustained push to that point to climb within 43-42 on Jeremy Roach’s 3-pointer at the 16:59 mark.

But the Blue Devils never tied it, as the Tar Heels responded with a 7-0 burst that included a 3-point play inside from Armando Bacot followed by a tip-in from Jae’Lyn Withers and a transition layup from Ryan that pushed the margin back to 52-43.

BIG PICTURE

UNC: The Tar Heels had clinched a share of the ACC regular-season title with Tuesday’s win against Notre Dame in their home finale, marking their first since the 2018-19 season.

Duke: The Blue Devils had been steadily building momentum in recent weeks, winning eight of nine since the UNC loss and winning its last three games by 15-plus points.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

North Carolina athletics press release

March 9, 2024





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