Zion, Duke beat rival North Carolina to advance to ACC Final

Ross Houston
March 17, 2019

North Carolina (27-6) certainly had its chances to win even with Williamson on the court, an opportunity to upend its most hated rival for the third time this season, and a chance to erase the cloud that lingered over its first two victories.

A major upset is brewing in the quarterfinals round of the ACC Tournament, which has begun play this afternoon in Charlotte.

Zion Williamson also added a commanding 11 rebounds to his 31 points in a riveting contest coach Mike Krzyzewski likened to a "vintage Duke-North Carolina" grudge match.

"He put on his Superman jersey", UNC coach Roy Williams said.

"It's going to be painful not to play tomorrow".

R.J. Barrett came down with a rebound off a missed UNC three at the other end and was fouled, but he missed both free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Tar Heels a chance to hit a game victor.

That sent Duke's bench into celebration and leaving a disappointed White crouching at midcourt in an arena filled with a buzzing instate crowd.

Cameron Johnson had 23 points for the Tar Heels, but he also missed a stepback 3-pointer for the lead that set up Barrett's missed free throws.

Virginia led only briefly in the second half, its last advantage at 45-44 with 13:28 to play. FSU held Williamson to a season-low 11 points and has covered four in a row against Duke.

De'Andre Hunter had 13 points for Virginia (29-3), which had its nine-game winning streak snapped and suffered its first loss to an opponent other than Duke. The latest Duke vs. Florida State odds have the Blue Devils favored by eight points, with the over-under, or total points Vegas thinks will be scored, at 146.5. They have struggled from beyond the arc this year, however, shooting 33%, which ranks just 274th in the NCAA.

"These two guys have an unbelievable will to win", Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Williamson and Barrett, "and it makes us coaches look a lot better". "The rivalry lived up to what it was expected to be".

After the win, Williamson once again addressed the notion that he shouldn't have returned to the Blue Devils with the National Basketball Association on the horizon.

"But it's a team game and we didn't have the ball bounce our way a couple of times and we've just got to learn from it".

After his knee injury in their first meeting with North Carolina this year, there was much discussion on whether Zion Williamson had played his last game for the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils defeated the Seminoles, 80-78, back on January 12 in Tallahassee.

It was still 49-48 Florida State after a Ty Jerome three with 12:01 left, but the 'Noles would outscore Virginia 13-1 over the next 5:34, as the Cavaliers missed four shots and committed three turnovers over that span.

The Cavaliers loss comes on the same floor where they became the first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament to lose to a 16 seed in Maryland-Baltimore County a year ago.

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