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Big 2nd half lifts No. 5 seed Duke past No. 1 UNC 93-83, into ACC title game

March 11, 2017 GMT

FINAL: Duke 93, UNC 83: The game saw just one lead change, but when Duke went ahead with nine minutes to play Friday, they never let the advantage go in a 93-83 win over top-seeded UNC. With the win, the Blue Devils will play for the ACC championship Saturday against either No. 2 Florida State or No. 3 Notre Dame.

3:36, 2H. Duke: 77, North Carolina: 72.

Joel Berry and Amile Jefferson are both back in the game for their teams with four fouls a piece heading into the final stretch.

Duke holds a slim lead, but the teams have traded energetic dunks in the continually tight game.

7:52, 2H. Duke: 68, North Carolina: 65.

Duke’s 15-2 scoring run tied the game at 63-63 when Luke Kennard hit a pair of free throws. Nate Britt answered with a bucket, but Frank Jackson’s next shot was worth more, coming from behind the arc for a 66-65 Blue Devils lead.

Amile Jefferson was called for his fourth with 9:41 left.

10:56, 2H. Duke: 61, North Carolina: 63.

Roy Williams calls timeout after Duke’s 13-2 run over after 2:30 of play. Luke Kennard’s four-point play continued things for Blue Devils after Mike Krzyzewski’s break (which became the under-12 minute timeout).

Jayson Tatum’s dunk before the timeout started the run.

13:39, 2H. Duke: 50, North Carolina: 61.

UNC holds a double-digit lead against Duke at the second media timeout of the second half, but starting PG Joel Berry is on the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 15 minutes still left in the game.

Berry has seven points. Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks are all in double figures.

15:56, 2H. Duke: 47, North Carolina: 56.

Justin Jackson has five of UNC’s seven second-half points as North Carolina continues to lead Duke early in the second half.

END 1H. Duke: 42, North Carolina: 49.

Big men are dominating for UNC as the Tar Heels lead the Duke Blue Devils 49-42 at halftime.

The No. 1 ACC Tournament seed outscored the No. 5 seed 32-10 in the paint in the first half.

Kennedy Meeks has 15 points and Isaiah Hicks has 11 (plus two fouls). Jayson Tatum has 18 points and Grayson Allen has 12 points (on 4-for-4 three-point shooting).

3:58, 1H. Duke: 31, North Carolina: 40.

North Carolina outscored Duke 10-1, prompting Mike Krzyzewski to call his first timeout with 6:51 left in the first half. A three pointer from each Grayson Allen (his fourth) and Jayson Tatum were the Blue Devils only field goals after that before the final media timeout of the half.

UNC continues to get production from its bigs inside, holding the lead.

7:40, 1H. Duke: 22, North Carolina: 28.

Grayson Allen hit three three-pointers to shrink Duke’s deficit, pulling the Blue Devils within one point, before North Carolina took off on a 5-0 run.

Allen leads his team with those nine points, Kennedy Meeks leads the game with 10 points.

10:54, 1H. Duke: 13, North Carolina: 21.

15:59, 1H. Duke: 4, North Carolina: 10.

Jayson Tatum has all four of Duke’s points early and Kennedy Meeks leads the Tar Heels with eight points (and zero rebounds, no less) as UNC is finding the senior big low with consistency to lead.

PREGAME

Although the Duke-North Carolina rivalry will be played 500 miles from Tobacco Road in the ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center on Friday, Mike Krzyzewski said don’t expect the intensity on the court and in the stands to be anything different.

“They’re a great program,” the Duke coach said of the Tar Heels. “We’re a great program. We’re two of the great programs. We’re accustomed, they’re accustomed to playing in buildings that have a lot of energy, for or against them. That’s why the kids go to those schools is to be in those moments, to be in a moment like today.

“So to be in that moment tomorrow, the people who were in the stands, they have a chance to enjoy that because those moments don’t happen all the time. Our two programs have created a lot of them.”

It will only be the fifth time the schools have met outside of their home state. They played in Atlanta in 1929, 1989 and in 2001, and in New York City in 1971.

The two storied programs will meet for the 21st time in the ACC Tournament in the semifinal matchup. The Blue Devils (24-8), ranked 14th and seeded fifth, advanced with an 81-77 win over 10th ranked Louisville, the fourth seed.

Duke is attempting to win its first tournament title since 2011. To do so it would have to win four games in four days -- a feat never accomplished in this tournament.

Top seeded and No. 6 North Carolina (27-6) dispatched Miami, 78-53, in the quarterfinals. It marked the seventh time this season the Tar Heels shot 50 percent in both halves. The Tar Heels are in search of their 19th ACC Tournament title.

“The bottom line is we’re going to play two Final Four caliber teams in a row in 24 hours,” Krzyzewski said. “I mean, Louisville and North Carolina are Final Four caliber teams. We just played them, had a great game. If we’re fresh enough, I think it will be a great game.”

Krzyzewski’s squad is halfway there, having eliminated Clemson 79-72 in the second round on Wednesday, then disposing of Louisville in a game they trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half.

Jayson Tatum scored 25 points in the comeback win and sharpshooter Luke Kennard poured in 24 points, 18 in the second half. The mercurial Grayson Allen added 18 points in much-needed 28 minutes off the bench.

“I just attacked the same way and made some shots today,” Allen said. “That was really it. And got going a little bit and just was able to bring us energy when I got in, and then once the whole team got energized, just feeding off of that.”

Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, like his counterpart, doesn’t see any difference in playing in a venue so far from both school’s fan base.

“We’ve played them in the tournament, not very often, though, really for 14 years, Williams said. “I think we played them once or twice in the tournament, and it wasn’t in Durham or Chapel Hill. I can’t even remember where it was.”