Vernon Carey Jr. scored 25 points and No. 12 Duke fought off challenges from rival North Carolina to win its home finale, 89-76, on Saturday night in Durham, N.C.
Tre Jones had 21 points, Cassius Stanley added 19 points and Justin Robinson continued a late-season surge with 13 points for Duke.
Garrison Brooks reached the 25-point mark for the fourth game in a row for North Carolina, finishing with 26. Armando Bacot added 13 points and Brandon Robinson had 11.
The storied rivalry remained intense, but there was a different tone as the teams entered the last day of the season on opposite ends of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Duke still had a chance to secure a share of first place, though that didn’t pan out.
Duke (25-6, 15-5 ACC) will hold the No. 4 seed for the ACC Tournament with a quarterfinal game Thursday night. North Carolina (13-18, 6-14) will be the No. 14 seed for the 14-team ACC Tournament, which begins Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C.
The Tar Heels entered the day with a three-game winning streak for the first time since November.
Carey’s three-point play created a 69-61 edge with 7:39 remaining.
When Robinson and Stanley connected on 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, the margin grew to 80-67 amid a deafening roar.
Duke led most of the first half, but the Tar Heels pulled even at 28-28. The Blue Devils surged again and led 42-34 at halftime.
North Carolina finished the first half with a collection of reserves on the court as four starters had two fouls each.
Bacot was back in the starting lineup after missing Tuesday night’s victory against Wake Forest because of an ankle injury.
Then Saturday night, Robinson exited to the locker room with 1:41 remaining in the first half after taking a hard fall. He checked back in several minutes into the second half.
Last month, Duke rallied late in regulation and in overtime to pull out a 98-96 victory against the Tar Heels.
Last season, North Carolina swept the regular-season games before Duke won an ACC Tournament semifinal matchup.
—Field Level Media