DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — Although neither team was ranked, this year’s Duke-UNC Chapel Hill game proved to be as exciting as those in the past with the teams just a basket apart at halftime and players battling to the end with the Tar Heels eeking out a 91-87 win.
The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are usually among the nation’s elite as they charge into February. But their game Saturday marked the first with both teams unranked in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll since February 1960.
Saturday’s game had UNC jumping out to an early lead and the Tar Heels mostly remained ahead of Duke throughout the game. By halftime, UNC was only up 41-39. But, Duke did not lead in the second half.
The Tar Heels were coming off a loss to Clemson that was filled with turnovers and bad shooting. The Blue Devils were coming off a loss at Miami in a performance Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski labeled “soft.”
With no fans allowed in Cameron Indoor Stadium, any edge Duke typically had by virtue of their very boisterous students was wiped out.
Coming into the Duke game, UNC was ranked first among Division I teams with an offensive rebound percentage of 40 percent. The Tar Heels have averaged 15.2 offensive boards per game.