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Off the cuff: The Duke loss felt like a beat down for much of the game as Jabari Parker was seemingly unstoppable, especially against the man-to-man defense while teammate Rodney Hood was seemingly unstoppable, especially against the zone.

Still, North Carolina was able to come back twice against the Blue Devils at Duke. In the first half, Carolina cut a 13-point deficit to just three at the half. In the second half, Carolina cut a 19-point deficit to eight and nearly had it to five on a three-attempt by Marcus Paige.

Even without James Michael McAdoo's foul trouble it would have been difficult to beat the Blue Devils on this night. Duke was playing with an extra effort on senior night and after having lost its last game AND after having lost to the Tar Heels the last time.

Parker and Hood, along with the rebounding edge, were certainly keys but the free throw differential was also notable. Carolina was 14 of 19 while Duke was 27 of 31 - a 13-point difference.

Duke's last 16 points came at the free throw line. In fact, the Blue Devils did not hit a FG the final 6:45 yet still won handily.

Ironically, the loss could prove to be a blessing if one is to believe - as many experts do - that Syracuse and Duke are actually better than No. 1 seed Virginia. If all top 4 teams advance, Carolina would face Virginia in the semi-finals and either Duke or Syracuse in the finals.

The Tar Heels might have some intangibles against all those teams. Despite a 12-game winning streak in the ACC, the Heels lost to each of those three teams the last time they played them. Revenge is a good motivator, especially in college ball - plus it's difficult to beat evenly matched teams multiple times in a season.

Duke 93, Tar Heels 81
UNC can't overcome Parker, foul woes

With North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo saddled with foul trouble, Duke's freshman Jabari Parker unleashed on the Heels with a season-high 30 points to lead the Blue Devils to a 93-81 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (3/8)

The loss dropped the Tar Heels to the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament while Duke moved to the third seed. Both teams, however, get first-round byes.

Duke also got 24 points from another underclassman, sophomore Rodney Hood, on the Blue Devils' senior night.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said it was the first time this year that both Parker and Hood have been "sensational" in the same game.

Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, it came against them - and on a night when McAdoo got into foul trouble early. He picked up two fouls in the first six minutes of the game and sat for several minutes. Then he got his third with 5:13 left in the first half - right after he had scored six straight for the Heels.

He sat the rest of the half and then picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the second half. He sat on the bench for the next eight minutes, during which time Duke outscored UNC 25-14 to go from just five points ahead to 16 points up, 67-51 with 11:11 left in the game.

Duke had rushed out to a 17-4 lead to start the game but Carolina scratched back - with McAdoo out and Marcus Paige not scoring - to trail by just three at the half, 40-37.

But the Blue Devils came out hot in the second half, hitting six threes and led 74-55, the largest lead of the game, with just 8:26 to go.

Again the Tar Heels scratched back - this time with Paige leading the way. Down 12 with 2:49 left, Paige double pumped a three from the top of the key and was fouled. He converted the four-point play to pull the Heels within eight.

Following a Duke turnover under pressure, Paige put up another three but when it bounced up, UNC's Brice Johnson dunked it while it was still in the cylinder for an offensive interference. Had the three not gone down, Johnson was right there for a stick back so the lead could have been cut to six or five.

Instead, Duke hit free throw after free throw to come away with the 12-point victory. The Blue Devils outscored the Heels by 13 from the free throw line as they hit an amazing 27 of 31 including 12 in the last 2:18.

But both coaches agreed that rebounding was the biggest key. "Going into the game I thought rebounding was an area where we could have an advantage but they killed us," UNC coach Roy Williams said, referring to the 32-18 rebounding edge for the Devils.

It was the lowest number of rebounds the Tar Heels have pulled down in a game this season. It didn't help that McAdoo was limited by foul trouble and big-man Kennedy Meeks was sidelined most of the game with a stomach illness.

In addition to leading all scorers, Duke's Parker led all rebounders with 11 boards. "Whatever 'it' is, Jabari had it," Coach Williams said making reference to Coach K's statement after the first game between the two teams that his team just didn't have it. "He was possessed."

Paige, who had three second-half three-pointers, led four Tar Heels in double figures with 24 points. Johnson scored 15, McAdoo managed 13 and Leslie McDonald added 12.

The Tar Heels, now 23-8 and 13-5 in the ACC, and the Blue Devils, now 24-7 and 13-5 in the ACC, play in the ACC Tournament Friday. The Heels play in the afternoon while the Devils play at night.


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