The Blue Devils are one win away from one of the most improbable tournament runs in program history after rallying from a 13-point deficit to beat top-seeded North Carolina 93-83. A game-changing 29-9 run pushed Duke over the top, with big contributions off the bench from Grayson Allen and Harry Giles.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Match up with Hicks: The Blue Devils struggled to contain Hicks, especially in the first half, when he converted on four of his seven attempts from the field. Although Duke was able to pull out the victory, Hicks had an impact for North Carolina, scoring 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe in the loss.
  • Control the Tempo: The game was all North Carolina in the first half, when it outscored the Blue Devils 49-42. The Tar Heels were getting their way in the paint as well, with everyone finding their way to easy shots at the rim. However, Duke was able to control the pace in the second half, with Grayson Allen driving and dishing out to the 3-point line on the majority of his five assists. The Blue Devils were able to convert on many of those and take the lead late in the game.
  • Get hot from long range: Since the Blue Devils were heavily outmanned down low, it was especially important that they got hot from three. Duke did exactly that against North Carolina, converting 10 of its 17 attempts from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils got a spark early on from Allen, who got hot after nailing his first four shots from deep in the contest. He would hit one more triple in the second half en route to a sizzling 5-for-6 night from beyond the arc.

Three key stats:

  • Duke shoots 33-of-37 from the free-throw line: After struggling to get to the line late in the season, the Blue Devils were on the attack Friday and made the most of their shots at the stripe. Sophomore Luke Kennard was outstanding from the line, as he made all 10 of his attempts, freshman Jayson Tatum was perfect on his seven attempts and fellow freshman Harry Giles, a 45.5 percent shooter on the season, converted two attempts late in the game to ice the victory.
  • Grayson Allen shoots 5-of-6 from 3-point range: After shooting just 29.7 percent from beyond the arc since his 7-of-12 performance from deep against North Carolina at home Feb. 9, Allen returned to his form that earned him preseason national player of the year recognition. The junior was excellent, converting five of his six attempts from deep, which ignited the Blue Devil offense and kept them in the game in the first half.
  • Kennedy Meeks shoots 7-of-9 with 15 points in the first half: The Blue Devils really struggled to contain the senior big man in the first half. Meeks found his way around the Duke defense and was able to convert six of his first seven shots, all from point-blank range. He led the Tar Heel offense early on and helped them get out to their 61-48 lead in the second half, which would quickly evaporate.

Three key plays:

  • 13:40 remaining, second half: After Meeks made a lay-up to put the Tar Heels up by 13, Tatum charged down the court for the Blue Devils and threw down a slam. This gave Duke some momentum and sparked its relentless run that essentially lasted the rest of the game.
  • 9:02 remaining, second half: With the Blue Devils down by just two after a 15-4 run, Allen found freshman Frank Jackson in the corner, and Jackson buried the 3-pointer. This play completed the comeback for Duke and gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game.
  • 5:30 remaining, second half: Following another clutch 3-pointer by Luke Kennard, which gave the Blue Devils a 75-70 lead, freshman Harry Giles got a block in the paint and then ran the floor before Allen found him wide open for an alley-oop slam seconds late. This play put Duke up by seven with just more than five minutes to play and turned the momentum completely in the Blue Devils’ favor.

And the Duke game ball goes to.... Grayson Allen

After getting back on track against Louisville Thursday, Allen was at his best again Friday against the Tar Heels. Despite coming off the bench, Allen acted as the facilitator for the Duke offense, dishing out five assists while scoring 18 points and shooting 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. With the NCAA tournament looming next week, the Blue Devils will need Allen to continue to produce in order to make a deep run.

And the North Carolina game ball goes to.... Kennedy Meeks

Meeks got the Tar Heel offense rolling and dominated in the paint. The senior forward had his way inside, scoring 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds in the game. Nonetheless, Meeks was not able to maintain his play in the second half, when he shot just 2-for-5 and the Blue Devils mounted a strong comeback to claim victory at the Barclays Center.