Duke's Tyus Jones (5) reacts following a play against North Carolina during the second half in Durham, N.C., Wednesday. Duke won 92-90 in overtime.
Duke's Tyus Jones (5) reacts following a play against North Carolina during the second half in Durham, N.C., Wednesday. Duke won 92-90 in overtime. (Gerry Broome, AP)

DURHAM, N.C. — No. 15 North Carolina had plenty of chances to knock off No. 4 Duke.

The Tar Heels came up empty on all of them.


Duke beat UNC 92-90 on Wednesday night after erasing a late double-digit deficit and making all the plays down the stretch.

"One play goes this way instead of that way," Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige said, "we're having a different conversation right now."

Kennedy Meeks threw away a long inbounds pass. Paige missed a long jumper at the regulation buzzer. J.P. Tokoto missed a short jumper late in OT that would have tied it, and Paige came up empty on a last-gasp attempt off a missed free throw.

"The little things add up," Tokoto said.

Meeks and Brice Johnson each scored 18 points to lead North Carolina (18-8, 8-5). Nate Britt pulled the Tar Heels within two with one free throw with 3.5 seconds left. He missed the second, Marcus Paige raced in and got his hands on the rebound — but Winslow grabbed it as the buzzer sounded.

"My teammates came to battle," said Paige, who finished with five points on 2-of-11 shooting. "They played fantastic the whole game. And I didn't really give them anything."

Quinn Cook scored 22 points and freshman Tyus Jones matched a season high with 22 for Duke (23-3, 10-3).

"It's tough for this game to always live up to the hype," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "But I think tonight's game exceeded it."

In a thriller befitting college basketball's most intense rivalry, the Blue Devils let an early 13-point lead slip away and trailed by 10 with less than four minutes left in regulation before rallying for their sixth straight win this season, and their ninth in 12 meetings in the series.

The three freshmen who start for Duke had their customary big games: Jones added eight assists, Justise Winslow added 16 points and Jahlil Okafor had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Amile Jefferson scored 13 points for the Blue Devils, who went up 90-89 with just under two minutes left in OT on Okafor's layup.

Cook gave Duke a two-point lead with a free throw with 31.8 seconds remaining. And when he missed the second attempt, he gave the Tar Heels a chance.

North Carolina milked the clock and worked the ball to J.P. Tokoto, whose short jumper from the left baseline hit off the front of the rim. The rebound went to Cook, who was fouled with 5.2 seconds left.

Cook missed the first free throw but made the second to put Duke up 92-89. North Carolina got the ball near midcourt before calling a timeout. Britt was fouled before the Tar Heels could even think about hoisting a 3.


Tokoto had 15 points, Isaiah Hicks scored 12 and Britt finished with 11 points, while Johnson added 12 points before fouling out early in overtime for the Tar Heels, who have lost four of five.

North Carolina had possession last in regulation, milking most of the clock before getting the ball to Paige.

The preseason All-American took one dribble and tossed up a long jumper that bounced hard off the iron and into the lane — where a scrum ensued for the rebound, but no fouls were called.

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