Duke vs. North Carolina score, takeaways: Blue Devils win in Jon Scheyer's first game as coach vs. rival

The first meeting between between Duke and North Carolina since the retirement of legendary Blue Devils' coach Mike Krzyzewski delivered in a big way on Saturday as the Blue Devils emerged from a back-and-forth affair with a 63-57 victory. North Carolina failed to score for nearly four minutes to close the game in a fitting cap to a contest defined by defense.

Neither team shot 40% from the floor, but UNC particularly struggled. The Tar Heels shot just 34% for the game and only 28.6% in the second half. Leading the defensive charge for Duke was freshman center Dereck Lively II, who blocked a career-high eight shots.

Fittingly, it was Duke junior point guard Jeremy Roach who produced a critical bucket with 21 seconds left to put the Blue Devils ahead 61-57. Roach finished with a game-high 20 points and secured some redemption after a poor offensive showing in last year's Final Four loss to the Tar Heels.

With neither team ranked and both needing a big February to compete for the ACC title, the game carried high stakes for both squads, and that was apparent as they traded blows throughout the evening. UNC led by seven in the first half while Duke led by six in the second before things tightened up down the stretch.  

Lively atmosphere

Lively finished with just four points on 2-of-3 shooting, but he may have been Duke's most valuable player. He set new career highs in minutes (34), rebounds (14) and eight blocks as he swatted more shots than any Duke player ever had in a game against North Carolina.

He did not score until 8:44 remained, when he dunked an offensive rebound to put Duke ahead 51-50. But by then, Lively already had seven blocks. With Lively patrolling the paint, North Carolina star center Armando Bacot scored only two points on 1 of 4 shooting in the second half.

Lively arrived at Duke as the No. 2 ranked prospect in the Class of 2022, but the 7-foot-1 center has been only a role player for the Blue Devils. He entered the UNC game averaging just 4.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and two blocks in 16.6 minutes per game while bouncing in and out of the starting lineup. But he may be turning a corner, especially on defense, as this marked the fourth time in the last five Duke games that Lively has finished with at least three blocks.

He is becoming on the nation's best shot blockers, and he picked a huge moment to put that skill on full display.

Big month needed

A year ago, North Carolina lost at home to Duke on Feb. 5 and fell to 16-7 (8-4 ACC) in Hubert Davis' first season as coach. The Tar Heels were on the bubble but won seven of their final eight regular season games to make the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed. From there, they made it all the way to the Final Four, atoning for a lackluster regular season.

It's looking more and more like North Carolina will need to replicate last season's strong February just to make the NCAA Tournament. At just 15-8 (7-5), the Tar Heels are at risk of becoming one of the most disappointing preseason No. 1 teams in recent memory. North Carolina has dropped two straight and faces tricky contests at Wake Forest and at home against Clemson next week.

UNC entered the day as a projected No. 9 seed in Jerry Palm's Bracketology, and the Duke loss shouldn't damage its resume too badly considering it will go down as a Quad 1 defeat. But this team was disappointingly flat this week in losses to Pitt and Duke, and the Tar Heels need to find a spark.

Statistical quirks

The teams were an even 50-50 over their last 100 meetings in a sign of just how competitive the rivalry has been over the years. In breaking the deadlock and getting coach Jon Scheyer his first win in the series, Duke benefitted from a couple lopsided statistical quirks.

For one thing, the Blue Devils won the battle of fast break points 20-2 and held a 16-0 edge in the category at halftime. But perhaps the strangest statistical anomaly of the game was the fact that North Carolina attempted just three free throws and none in the second half. 

UNC entered fifth in the country, averaging 24.7 attempts from the charity stripe per game game. But they never even got to the bonus in the second half as Duke was whistled for just six second-half fouls and only 11 for the game. 

By contrast, Duke attempted 15 free throws. While Tar Heels' fans might blame the officiating crew for the discrepancy, Lively also deserves much of the credit. He established himself as an interior enforcer in the game's opening minutes, and the Tar Heels looked hesitant to attack the basket against Duke's towering tandem of Lively and Kyle Filipowski. 

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@DukeMBB via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:34 AM
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@DukeMBB via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:28 AM
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UNC's offense

It looks disjointed as the Tar Heels are shooting just 32.3% from the field in the first half. Lively's dominance of the paint appears to have discouraged UNC from looking inside to Bacot, who is just 1 of 4 in the second half.

February 5, 2023, 1:27 AM
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@UNC_Basketball via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:23 AM
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Filipowski down

Kyle Filipowski came down hard on his left elbow after elevating to attempt a block on Caleb Love. He's up and walking but that clearly hurt the young seven footer, who gets a standing O on his way off the floor. Would appear based on body language that he'll be able to shake that off.

February 5, 2023, 1:21 AM
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@DukeMBB via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:21 AM
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Back and forth

Good offensive execution here from both teams. Leaky Black has tied a career-high with three 3-pointers for UNC and Jeremy Roach is getting going again for Duke as we get under five minutes left.

February 5, 2023, 1:17 AM
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Down the stretch we come

The teams have led for nearly equal amounts of this game, and it's Duke with a 51-50 edge at the u8 timeout. Player of the game so far is Dereck Lively II. Has only two points but has blocked a career-high 7 blocks. Just two points for Armando Bacot in the second half for UNC. Fun finish ahead from Cameron Indoor Stadium.

February 5, 2023, 1:11 AM
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@DukeMBB via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:09 AM
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@UNC_Basketball via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:05 AM
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Blue Devils cold 

It's a 7-0 mini run for North Carolina coming out of the u12 timeout. Jeremy Roach hasn't scored yet in the half for the Blue Devils, who have just two fast break points in the second half after thriving in transition in the first.

February 5, 2023, 1:04 AM
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@DukeMBB via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:03 AM
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@UNC_Basketball via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 1:00 AM
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UNC hanging in

It felt like Duke had wrestled away all the momentum, but the Tar Heels are within 44-43 now and force Duke to take a timeout with 12:04 left. UNC just picked up its first fast break bucket of the game. Dereck Lively II is getting a breather for the Blue Devils but is up to a career-high six blocks.

February 5, 2023, 12:58 AM
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U16

 A 3-pointer from Leaky made it 35-apiece. Huge boost for UNC when he is an offensive threat. But the Tar Heels have gone cold since then. Tyrese Proctor answered with a two for Duke and is in double figures and then Mark Mitchell got in on the action. Blue Devils have the basketball and and 39-35 lead at the first media timeout in the second half. Dereck Lively II is up to five blocks for Duke.

February 5, 2023, 12:48 AM
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Quiet Love

Caleb Love hit a 3 in the first minute and made just one bucket the rest of the half. He's got five so far on just five attempts. He's a volume guy, and I'd expect a big half from him. He averages 14.9 shots per game. While his shot selection is often questionable, he is the team's second-leading scorer and UNC will need to get him going as this game progresses.

February 5, 2023, 12:42 AM
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Halftime thoughts

Duke 33, UNC 32

A 16-0 edge for Duke in fast break points is stunning. Roach and Proctor have combined for 19 points and Filipowski has been effective as well. Bacot has been UNC's best player thus far with 12 and 7. Ultimately, tip of the cap to the Blue Devils for striking back after falling behind 19-12. Good second half on deck from Cameron Indoor Stadium.

February 5, 2023, 12:29 AM
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@DukeMBB via Twitter
February 5, 2023, 12:21 AM
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