north carolina takes down duke as college basketballs greatest rivalry is renewed in chapel hill

For the 261st time in their storied rivalry, Duke and North Carolina squared off with the eyes of college basketball locked in on Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

The schools, separated by just 10 miles, faced each other as top-10 opponents for the 49th time as a packed crowd filled the Smith Center. 

RJ Davis (4) of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles Mark Mitchell (25) of the Duke Blue Devils for a loose ball during the first half of a game at the Dean E. Smith Center Feb. 3, 2024, in Chapel Hill, N.C.  (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)=)

The Carolina faithful did not leave disappointed. 

DUKE AND NORTH CAROLINA RIVALRY TIPS OFF FOR 261ST TIME, 49TH AS TOP-10 TEAMS

No. 3 North Carolina trailed for just 53 seconds, handing No. 7 Duke its third ACC loss with a 93-84 win in Chapel Hill. 

A roaring crowd cheered North Carolina to a 10-point halftime lead, and fifth-year senior Armando Bacot proved why he’ll go down as a Carolina great. 

Bacot scored 12 first-half points and grabbed eight rebounds, while junior forward Harrison Ingram went 3-6 from the 3-point line, chipping in 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block.

Bacot finished his night with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Ingram shot 5-9 from deep with 21 points and 12 rebounds. 

Armando Bacot battles for a rebound

North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, right, tries to control a loose ball in front of Duke guard Tyrese Proctor, left, during the first half Feb. 3, 2024, in Chapel Hill, N.C.  (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Duke turned the ball over 11 times, which North Carolina turned into 19 points. 

“The main story for me was the loose balls,” Duke head coach Jon Scheyer said. “As you look throughout the game, they were hungrier to get them. And it turned into – I’ll go back and watch the film and see – but I bet close to 15, maybe even 20 points. And you have to give them credit for that.

“They have a really good team. They play really well together. Their defense is terrific. And still, we score 84 points.  We can score. Our thing was getting stops tonight. Which we just could not do.”

Scheyer was not pleased with his team’s effort in the loss, saying he was disappointed with the way his Blue Devils competed. 

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“I just wasn’t happy with the way we competed,” Scheyer said. “And that’s disappointing for me. Look, you can play really well and compete your butt off, and still lose to them. Because they’re a really good team. But we didn’t compete to the level that you need to, to have a chance to beat this team tonight. And that’s what I’m disappointed about.” 

Duke was unable to rally after digging itself a first-half hole. 

The two guards were the offense for Duke in the first half, with senior guard Jeremy Roach knocking down two of three attempts from beyond the 3-point arc for 10 first-half points, while freshman Jared McCain had nine points and seven rebounds. 

Sophomore Kyle Filipowski, who was seventh in the ACC in points (17.5) per game heading into the matchup, was largely held in check in the first half, scoring just six points on 3-7 shooting from the floor.  

The sophomore got going in the second half, finishing the night with 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting, but it was too little too late for Duke.  

Jared McCain shoots against North Carolina

Jared McCain (0) of the Duke Blue Devils shoots against Elliot Cadeau (2) of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of a game at the Dean E. Smith Center Feb. 3, 2024, in Chapel Hill, N.C.  (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

On Thursday, North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis highlighted the challenges Filipowski poses for a defense. The third-year head coach was pleased with how his team – specifically Bacot – handled the sophomore on Saturday. 

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“One of the things that we always – even as a player – defensively, yes. He’s a handful, but you have to go at him on the defensive end,” Davis said Filipowski. “And I thought Armando did that. I thought Armando made him play defense. And that’s something I think really helped us tonight.” 

The win by Carolina snaps a two-game home losing streak to Duke, and the Tar Heels are now two games up in the loss column on the Blue Devils in the ACC. 

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