Everyone knew it was going to be an instant classic. Carolina and Duke meeting for the 233rd time with Duke coming into the game #9 in the nation and UNC #5. This is historically one of the fiercest rivalries in college basketball and the 2012 reboot definitely did not disappoint.
UNC lead most of the 2nd half by as much as 12 points and still had a 10 point lead with 2 and a half minutes left in the game before Duke started draining threes like it was nothing. It was largely the act of freshman phenom Austin Rivers who drained a deep 3 over UNC's Zeller who unexplainably had his hands down to win.
Rivers has been averaging 15 ppg this year for the Blue Devils, but raised his game to a new level against the Tar Heels. Against UNC Rivers went for 29 points including 6 3-pointers, and the game winning three with time running out. It should be noted Rivers was incredible most of the game giving Duke the lift it needed every time it looked like UNC was going to get away from the Blue Devils.
On the other side of the ball Barnes and Zeller lead the Tar Heels with 25 and 23 points respectively. Throughout much of the game UNC looked like the better team. Duke appeared to have no answer to Barnes’ athletic ability and UNC’s balanced attack. UNC kept making runs leading by 10 and 12 points throughout, but simply lacked the knockout punch.
It wasn’t until the very end when Duke caught fire and started draining threes from well beyond the arc that they finally got on top. This game was truly one for the ages and showed not only why these two programs are perennial powerhouses, but also why this rivalry is every bit as good as advertised.
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