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Off the cuff: UNC coach Roy Williams, responding to a question, said that Joel Berry's absence had an effect but that blaming the loss on that takes away from what Duke did.

It certainly wasn't the only reason Carolina lost but they were ahead by eight when he left the game and were behind by seven when he came back in so I think it's fair - without being disrespectful to Duke - to say that it was a big part of the loss.

Isaiah Hicks said that the Tar Heels stopped moving offensively in the second half. The Tar Heels shot 56 percent in the first half, hitting 16 shots down low, but they fell apart in the second half shooting only 28 percent.

Meanwhile Duke shot 59 percent in the second half and was successful penetrating and pushing it back outside for an open three. The Devils scored 18 more points from beyond the arc than did Carolina and they scored 19 more points from the foul line.

Coach Williams likely made one mistake by leaving Berry in the game after he got his third foul two minutes into the second half and another by leaving him out for 10 minutes of game action after getting his fourth foul.

I don't so much criticize Coach Williams for not calling a timeout when Duke was in the midst of their second-half run - maybe because I'm used to his playing that style. "Maybe if I die and have time outs left, I'll get something for it," he joked.

He also used the term "BS" and joked that it was better than after the previous game when he said the expletive "bullsh*t."

Four players for each team scored in double figures. Duke's Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 24 points. Luke Kennard had 20. Grayson Allen had 18. Frank Jackson had 15.

Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks scored 19 points each for Carolina. Justin Jackson, though he had an off night, had 16 and Berry added 10.

A couple other random thoughts: the officiating was poor against both teams and the timeouts were longer than usual with players and officials waiting around several times for ESPN to get through its commercials and promos.

Duke 93, Tar Heels 83
Tar Heels fall apart without Berry

If you're a North Carolina fan, about the only good news after the Tar Heels blew a 13-point lead to fall to Duke 93-83 in the ACC Tournament is that Carolina is going into the NCAA Tournament angry. (3/10)

Carolina was wearing out the Blue Devils by getting the back down low, outscoring Duke 32-10 in the paint in the first half, getting out to a 46-33 lead before settling for a 49-42 halftime advantage.

But, ahead 56-48 in the second half, UNC lost its point guard leader, Joel Berry, who went to the bench with a fourth foul at the 15:04 mark.

Over the next minute it appeared the Tar Heels might withstand the loss as they scored five straight to go up by 13 again at 61-48 but then Duke went on a huge run that pretty much lasted the rest of the game.

Duke, using the three-point shot, outscored the Tar Heels 29-9 the rest of the time that Berry sat on the bench. A four-point play started the run when Duke's Luke Kennard hit one from the corner and was fouled by Nate Britt with jut under 13 minutes to play.

The Devils went on to hit three more threes during the run, including one from Frank Jackson who gave Duke's their first lead of the game at 66-65 with 8:58 to play.

Duke's pressure defense seemed to rattled the Heels without Berry in the game. Carolina managed to tie it at 70 with 6:29 left on an old-fashioned three-point play by Nate Britt. But after a Frank Jackson bank shot put the Devils ahead, Carolina never led again.

Berry didn't get back into the game until Duke had built a seven-point lead with less than five minutes to go. Carolina never got close than five again as Berry couldn't provide a lift after sitting for 10 minutes of game time.

Besides Duke having 10 threes, including five from Grayson Allen, compared to just four threes for Carolina, the biggest difference came at the free throw line. The Devils hit 33 of 36 free throws. That's 19 more points that Duke got at line.

Jayson Tatum led the Duke attack with 24 points while Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks, Carolina big men, led Carolina with 29 points each.

Once the Tar Heels stopped feasting on Duke inside, they needed some outside shooting and they didn't get it. Justin Jackson was just six of 22 from the field, including just three of 11 from the three-point line.

Carolina falls to 27-7 overall while Duke improves to 26-8 and advances to the ACC Tournament championship game.

Box Score

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