It’s the first weekend of “Big Boy” ACC play and Tobacco Road foes Duke and North Carolina both faced their first tests Saturday…and they both passed with flying colors.
UNC opened conference play at Pittsburgh against a Panthers team led by new Head Coach Jeff Capel. Freshman Coby White led all scorers with 22 points in the 85-60 victory.
Pittsburgh hung with the Heels for the first eight minutes of the game – maintaining only a one point deficit 12:03 remaining in the first period – but a 16-0 run over next seven minutes and a 30-9 run to close the half would shut down any of Pitt’s upset hopes.
“I just think we locked down on defense,” White said after the game. “We got out in transition and we ran our sets and we just played harder and with a lot of effort.”
Duke defeated Clemson 87-68 in their conference home opener. Zion Williamson led the way with 25 points, 10 rebounds and a jaw-dropping 360 dunk in the win.
The game was close the majority of the first half, with both teams playing scrappy and energized basketball. During that period the score was tied six times and there were 8 lead changes, but a 21-7 run to open the 2nd half would push a seven point halftime Tiger deficit to 24 with 12:25 remaining in the game. The Blue Devils maintained a 19-point or greater lead the remainder of the contest.
“We had a couple of spurts in the first half that put us up by seven and then the start of the second half was the turning point of the game,” Coach K said after the win. “We put a little thing in to get us a little bit of movement and it got us a little bit of movement; then our defense got us offense. We had that fourteen-to-nothing run and boom – you get something like that in this game, it’s really good.”
The next contests will be Tuesday evening road games for both teams. Duke will travel to Wake Forest (7pm tip-off) and UNC will take on NC State (9pm tip-off).
UNC Game Notes:
- Carolina is 54-12 all-time in ACC openers, including 11-5 under head coach Roy Williams.
- UNC made 10 three-pointers (seven in the first half). It was the fifth time this year Carolina has made 10 or more threes. The seven threes in the opening 20 minutes equal the most in a half this year (UNC also made seven in the first half vs. Saint Francis and Gonzaga).
- Pitt’s 19 field goals, two threes and 19 three-point attempts were season lows by an opponent.
- Carolina led for 38:35 and never trailed.
- Coby White led all scorers with 22 points. It was the fourth time he’s led UNC in scoring (first since the loss at Michigan) and his second 20-point game of the season.
- Garrison Brooks had nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and no turnovers. The five assists were a career high and mark the first time he’s led the Tar Heels in scoring.
- Luke Maye posted his 23rd career double-double (fifth this year) with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Duke Game Notes:
- Duke is now 48-18 all-time in ACC openers, including 29-10 in ACC openers under Coach K.
- In ACC openers at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke is now 35-6.
- Freshman Tre Jones set a career-high with nine assists and was an assist shy of his first career double-double with 10 points.
- Freshman Zion Williamson had his sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes. It is his third straight double-double and fourth in five games.
- Junior Jack White matched his career-high with 12 points and set a career-high with four made threes. White also had six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 29 minutes.
- RJ Barrett, the ACC’s leading scorer, finished with 13 points.
- All-time, Duke is now 232-36 when playing as the No. 1-ranked team.