ACC Tournament roundup: North Carolina upsets Duke in semis

North Carolina men's lacrosse looks fatigued in 10-6 home loss to Denver

Duke guard Grayson Allen drives against North Carolina guard Joel Berry II (right) during the first half of an Atlantic Coast Conference men's tournament semifinal game Friday night in NY.

Over the last three nights, UNC has not allowed a single one of its opponents to shoot better than what Duke did on Friday-a far cry from the team that has struggled on that side of the ball for most of the season.

North Carolina is 99-45 in the ACC tournament.

Partly it was the brutal physicality of the game that made it deteriorate at the end. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are scheduled to tip off at the Barclay's Center at 9pm ET tonight, or 25 minutes after the conclusion of the other ACC semifinal between Clemson and Virginia.

"This is a complete group" said UVA head coach Tony Bennett.

Theo Pinson made two free throws with 3.2 seconds left to seal it, and the Tar Heels snapped a six-game losing streak in the ACC Tournament to their most heated Tobacco Road rivals.

For a second, they didn't make those plays though. Somehow, they found a way to survive it - barely.

The Tar Heels come in on a high note after beating the No. 24 Miami (FL) Hurricanes in their last outing, 82-65.

The Blue Devils battled hard as well, including one pivotal occasion in which they were ruled to have battled too hard. Both Berry and Williams were on the championship team last season as well as the second place team from two seasons ago.

Over the first 34½ minutes, though, it was UNC's ability to exploit the soft spot in the center of Duke's 2-3 zone defense and turn it into uncontested jumpers, dunks or kick-out 3-pointers.

Allen received a Flagrant 1 foul for hip-checking North Carolina's Garrison Brooks as the Tar Heels forward was running up court late in the first half.

Miami's Anthony Lawrence played only 10 minutes of the first half after he appeared to tweak his ankle.

"Guys, they're the number one team in the country", Williams said about Virginia. They got it. It's done. Still, there is a fascination in watching a team that is such a project. But the Tar Heels went cold and got sloppy and second-seeded Duke went on a 13-0 run, drawing within three on Gray Trent Jr.'s 3 with 50 seconds left. "When you start a book, do you already know the ending? No".

"So we really have to lock in and just come together and just try to figure everything out that we need to figure out and just continue to get wins".

"I knew they were going to shoot threes". But he has chosen to chase fewer of them, on the whole, preferring slower-developing teams. "I didn't necessarily think we were that today. I'm old-school. I like to have some guys that can stay and have a special relationship with for a long time".

The disparity in styles is nearly as wide as you can get.

While plenty has changed in the men's basketball landscape since then, Virginia's stingy defense hasn't, which leads to a bit of concern for the Tar Heels.

UNC started the game with the same defensive intensity that smothered Syracuse in the second round.

"He thought it says in the Constitution of the United States that he had the right to shoot the ball", Williams said sarcastically.

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