No. 9 North Carolina blew out No. 1 Duke 88-72 at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday night after Blue Devils star freshman Zion Williamson went down with a knee injury in the first minute of the game.
After Williamson’s exit, the result of a bizarre incident where his shoe blew apart when he planted, it was all UNC. The Tar Heels took advantage of an ice-cold Duke team missing one of its main offensive catalysts. The Blue Devils shot just 35 percent from the floor, including an 8-for-39 mark from 3-point range.
While North Carolina was actually less prolific from beyond the arc (2-for-20), the Tar Heels were much better inside, scoring over 60 points in the paint – perhaps partially attributed to Williamson’s absence. Overall UNC shot 51 percent from the field and got 20-plus-point games out of Luke Maye (30 points) and Cameron Johnson (26).
More: Zion Williamson blows apart sneaker, heads to locker room with game-ending knee injury
More: Former President Barack Obama attends Duke-North Carolina game
Freshmen R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish combined for 60 points for Duke, but the rest of the lineup managed just 12 points.
Williamson’s health is Duke’s greater concern – the extent of his knee injury is currently unclear – but the loss dropped the Blue Devils into a three-way tie atop the Atlantic Coast Conference with North Carolina and No. 3 Virginia. All three teams are 11-2 in ACC play. The Blue Devils have handed the Cavaliers their only two losses on the season.
Duke and North Carolina rematch in Chapel Hill on March 9.
More to come