Without Williamson in their ranks, Duke struggled mightily against North Carolina, heading into the locker room trailing 42-32. Here are five observations from Duke's first half against the Tar Heels:
Player of the half: Luke Maye
In past tight matchups, Duke struggled to contain versatile big men such as Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga and Jordan Nwora of Louisville. And without Williamson, Duke's problems are compounded. In just 20 minutes of play, Maye recorded 18 points and six rebounds, absolutely dominating the Blue Devils from down low.
What does Duke do without Zion?
In the opening moments of the half, Blue Devil fans were stunned when Williamson slipped on the floor, taking his shoe off and clutching his inner thigh. With the freshman phenom in the locker room, Duke lost one of its biggest advantages of a physical powerhouse down low. Without Williamson, the Tar Heels outrebounded the Blue Devils 25-23. North Carolina also took apart Duke's inside defenders, scoring 34 points in the paint.
DeLaurier gives Duke a much needed spark
DeLaurier's season has had plenty of ups and downs, but the Shipman, Va., native had arguably the biggest sequence of the season coming off the bench. Seconds after grabbing a lob from Tre Jones to spark Duke's first dunk of the evening, the junior notched a steal for another breakaway jam. DeLaurier continued to explode with a massive block and rebound to keep the Blue Devils within 10.
Three point struggles all around
While Duke has been a team that has repeatedly struggled to shoot the three, North Carolina looked uncharacteristically inept in this department. The Blue Devils shot a paltry 2-for-20 from deep and the Tar Heels didn't look much better either, making 7.1 percent of shots from range.
Big night for Cam Reddish
In Duke's matchup against Florida State where the Blue Devils played an entire half without Williamson, Duke needed big minutes from the soft-spoken member of its freshman triumvirate. Although Reddish hasn't had a particularly productive evening from three, the Duke freshman poured in 13 points including a make from range.
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