Bagley

HALFTIME: North Carolina 36, Duke 31



NEW YORK—Duke's second game in Brooklyn couldn't have started out more differently than its first, though it found a way back into the game by the end of the half.

The second-seeded Blue Devils trailed by as many as 13 against No. 6 seed North Carolina in the ACC semifinals at the Barclays Center, but regrouped to trim the deficit to 36-31 heading into the locker room. After Duke scored 32 points in the first 10 minutes of the quarterfinals against Notre Dame, it scored only seven in that span Friday night before picking up steam.

The opening minutes were extremely sloppy, with Duke missing its first six field-goal attempts, and North Carolina capitalized on the other end, seizing a 10-1 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Cameron Johnson and Joel Berry II.

Gary Trent Jr. finally made the Blue Devils' first shot of the game more than five minutes in, but the Tar Heels kept their foot on the gas and scored six more points in a row to take a 16-3 lead.

Duke climbed back into the game with a 12-2 run to trim the deficit to three, but North Carolina freshman Garrison Brooks responded with a one-handed jam over Wendell Carter Jr. that might be bound for highlight reels showcasing the rivalry for years to come.

After the Tar Heels initially stemmed the tide, the Blue Devils scored eight straight points to take the lead with less than two minutes left on a hook from Marvin Bagley III, who has 10 points, trailing only Trent, who leads all scorers with 11.

North Carolina had the last word, though, responding with an 8-0 run of its own to regain the advantage.

Here are a few other observations from the first half:

  • Duke had an injury scare when Trevon Duval got his legs tangled with Kenny Williams and went to the ground before he had to be helped off the floor without putting any weight on his right leg. But the freshman point guard returned to the floor just a few minutes later with his ankle taped after a short trip to the locker room.
  • Both teams have been effective at earning second chances despite poor shooting, combining for 14 offensive boards.
  • Alex O'Connell looked tentative coming off the bench when Duval was hurt, playing six minutes and throwing a post entry pass straight into the hands of Tar Heel forward Theo Pinson for his lone contribution to the stat sheet.
  • North Carolina has repeatedly exploited the hole in Duke's 2-3 zone in the high post, sinking several catch-and-shoot 10-foot jumpers.
  • The Tar Heel fans in crowd went after Grayson Allen in the final minutes after he collided with Brooks in the open court. The senior guard did not appear to extend his leg to trip Brooks, but Allen was still whistled for a Flagrant 1.

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