It took two buzzer-beaters, but No. 7 Duke left the Dean Smith Center victorious on Saturday.
The Blue Devils, thanks to a clutch buzzer-beating layup from Wendell Moore, beat North Carolina 98-96 in overtime in yet another wild rivalry matchup between the two storied basketball programs.
“We didn’t have our best game tonight, but we continued to fight until the clock hit zero,” Duke star Tre Jones said on ESPN. “It took that entire time for us to get the win tonight. The way were just able to fight, we were down double digits late in the game, didn’t show any weaknesses, everyone was still strong, continue to fight, coaches believed in us, we just got it done.”
Jones had a chance to seal the game at the free throw line with just 6.6 seconds left in overtime, but missed the shot that would’ve put the Blue Devils up by one. The ball, however, was tipped back out and eventually kicked back to Jones, who dribbled back just inside the arc and put up one final shot.
That shot was off the mark, but Duke forward Wendell Moore came sprinting in and tapped the ball into the hoop, sealing the two-point win at the buzzer.
WHAT. Duke wins it at the buzzer in OT. pic.twitter.com/DJTIHK3u8I— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) February 9, 2020
That buzzer-beater was the second of the night, too.
With less than five seconds left in regulation, Jones was sent to the free throw line with the Blue Devils down three points.
After hitting the first free throw, Jones intentionally missed the second shot off the rim and miraculously grabbed his own rebound. Expertly, he dribbled just inside the 3-point line in the middle of the floor and drilled the jumper to force overtime — stunning the Tar Heels, who had built up a 13-point lead late in the second half.
Jones said he’s actually practiced that sequence before in practice, too.
“I feel like it comes off in the same spot every time,” Jones said on ESPN. “It’s just preparation. I feel like God is just watching over us.”
Jones led Duke with 28 points and six assists on the night, shooting 11-of-25 from the field. Cassius Stanley finished with 22 points, and Moore had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Cole Anthony led North Carolina with a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 7-of-17 from the field. Garrison Brooks added 18 points, and Christian Keeling finished with 13 points off the bench. The Tar Heels led for most of the game, too, and only trailed for 1:47 of the entire contest.
“If you don’t care who won the game you had to enjoy that as a big time college basketball game,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. “I care who won the game, so I did not enjoy the final outcome … We had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, and in some ways that has been our story several times [this year]. But it doesn’t make any difference. Duke’s locker room is very happy and our locker room is crushed.”
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