EditorsNote: Tweaks lede and 2nd graf, other minor changes
Wendell Moore Jr.’s putback at the overtime buzzer of teammate Tre Jones’ air ball gave No. 7 Duke a thrilling 98-96 victory against host North Carolina on Saturday night at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
It was the second buzzer-beating shot that saved Duke (20-3, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) in a game the Blue Devils trailed by seven with just over a minute left in regulation and by five with 20 seconds left in overtime.
Moore’s basket came after Jones made the first free throw at the 6.6-second mark to tie the game at 96. After Jones missed the second, the Blue Devils tracked down the rebound, and a frenzied Jones missed a jumper. But Moore, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, caught the shot and scored in one motion as time ran out.
North Carolina (10-13, 3-9) had wiped out a five-point deficit in overtime and appeared to be ready for an uplifting upset win over their bitter rivals.
There was a shocking stretch to end regulation, with Duke trailing by 13 points with 4 1/2 minutes to play.
After a furious Duke rally, North Carolina’s Garrison Brooks blocked a potential tying shot from the lane by Cassius Stanley with seven seconds remaining. North Carolina’s Andrew Platek, who had missed three free throws in the final minute, then made the second of two free-throw attempts at the 6.1-second mark for an 84-81 North Carolina lead.
Jones made a foul shot with 4.4 seconds to play, then intentionally missed and grabbed the carom, sinking a 19-foot tying shot at the buzzer to extend the game.
In overtime, Duke went up by five and then trailed by five with just 20 seconds left, before the wild comeback finish. Jones was fouled while making a layup wit 16 seconds left, and his missed free throw was rebounded by Duke, leading to a Moore lay-in to cut the deficit to 96-95 with 12 ticks remaining.
On the resulting inbounds pass, officials ruled a controversial no-call as Carolina fumbled the pass out of bounds. Duke again gave the ball to Jones, who was fouled on a driving layup, setting up the game-deciding sequence.
Duke scoring leader Vernon Carey Jr. pumped in 18 points — all in the first half — before fouling out with 4:16 left in regulation. Jones’ 28 points and Stanley’s 22 points led Duke.
Cole Anthony had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Brooks posted 18 points, Christian Keeling tallied 13 points, Armando Bacot chipped in 12 and Justin Pierce had 11 for the Tar Heels.
Anthony was in action for only the third time in the past two months because of a knee injury. The Tar Heels fell to 0-3 since his return.
Anthony hit a free throw with 1:11 left in regulation to extend the lead to 80-73 after the team’s 11th offensive rebound. Duke was within 80-77 with 48 seconds to play after a Jones layup and 81-79 with 40 seconds to go after a pair of Jones free throws. Anthony made two foul shots at the 21.3-second mark to extend the lead to four, before another Jones layup with 15 seconds remaining.
This was the first meeting in 15 games that one of the teams was unranked. North Carolina won that 2014 game against a No. 5 Duke team. Duke lost its three previous trips to the Smith Center.
The Tar Heels were up 68-56 with less than eight minutes remaining.
Keeling, a graduate transfer from Charleston Southern in his first game against Duke, had scored in double figures only once until this week, when he posted 14 points in a loss at Florida State.
North Carolina was strong from the get-go, taking a 22-12 lead.
Despite Carey’s 18 first-half points, the Tar Heels led 44-35 at the break. Duke, which had a miserable shooting outing Tuesday at Boston College, was 1-for-5 on first-half 3s and 4-for-18 for the game.
North Carolina shot 59.3 percent from the field for the half, the best opening 20 minutes of the season for the Tar Heels in that category.
Duke freshman forward Matthew Hurt wasn’t in the starting lineup and then he had four fouls by the 17:34 mark.
The teams split their previous 100 meetings, with each team scoring 7,746 points during that stretch.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the first game played, the teams wore special throwback jerseys.
North Carolina has lost six times in the Smith Center for just the second time ever.
—Field Level Media