It took less than a minute for Wednesday night's matchup between No. 1 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina to turn on its heels -- literally.
Only 34 seconds in, Blue Devils star Zion Williamson blew out his shoe after an attempted about-face driving the lane, and with it went Williamson's night -- he did not return and instead watched the game from the training room -- and Duke's chances to win. North Carolina would score first on the ensuing possession, and with the air sucked out of Cameron Indoor Stadium, it never trailed in a dominant 88-72 win.
Williamson's injury took the life out of Duke, which looked listless throughout. The Blue Devils had a chance to cut the lead to a single possession just before half, getting to within five, but UNC went on a surge to extend its lead to 10 and it never got closer.
"It's a mild knee sprain," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Williamson's injury after the game, adding that more information will be available on Thursday. "The knee is stable. We don't know how long he'll be out."
Luke Maye led UNC with one of his strongest showings of the season, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Senior Cam Johnson added 26 points, while touted freshmen Coby White and Nassir Little combined for 11 points.
For Duke, RJ Barrett tied his career-high with 33 points, and Cameron Reddish added 27. But no other Blue Devils player added more than six points on the evening, and it was clear Williamson's absence -- both physically and statistically, where he's averaging 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds this season -- was sorely missed.
"Lets be honest," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "When the big fella goes out of the game, it changes a lot of stuff for them. Zion Williamson, I've never seen anything like him. It was a huge blow for them, and having that happen during the course of a game you don't have time to prepare for it. I hated that part of it because I think he's such a wonderful kid. That was a huge blow for them at that time, there's no question."
Even with the loss Duke will remain a No. 1 seed, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm.
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