UNC vs. Duke: Score and Reaction from 2017 ACC Tournament

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10:  Frank Jackson #15 of the Duke Blue Devils drives against Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Semi Finals of the ACC Basketball Tournament  at the Barclays Center on March 10, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The rest of the college basketball world better take notice: Duke has hit its stride.

The Blue Devils posted a furious second-half rally on Friday night against North Carolina, ultimately pulling out a 93-83 win in the ACC tournament semifinals. It was Duke's second comeback in the second half in as many days after it pulled the same trick against Louisville on Thursday.

Duke now has the opportunity to become the first team in ACC history to win the tournament title by winning four games in four days, according to the ESPN broadcast.

It's yet another twist in a season full of surprises, as Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports noted:

Duke was led by monster performances from starters Jayson Tatum (24 PTS, 7 REB) and Luke Kennard (20 PTS, 15 in the second half), while Grayson Allen again provided a spark from the bench, finishing with 18 points and five assists. That spoiled another double-double from Kennedy Meeks (19 PTS, 12 REB).

The turning point came with just over 15 minutes remaining in the second half, when Joel Berry II was forced to the bench after he picked up his fourth foul. The Blue Devils promptly went on a 29-14 run, seizing control of a game they had trailed throughout.

The Blue Devils await the winner of Florida State and Notre Dame, and there will be an ACC tournament title hanging in the balance when they play on Saturday. If the Blue Devils pick up another win, they'll give the tournament committee an interesting decision when it comes to seeding.

Certainly, a healthy Duke team that has appeared to jell down the stretch is a major threat to reach the Final Four. One of the storylines coming into the season was the immense talent Duke had on its roster. The storyline became the struggle of all of the team's hyped recruits to be consistent.

Now, they are peaking just in time for the NCAA tournament. Seth Davis of SI.com thinks so:

Basketball writer Dick Weiss agrees:

North Carolina, meanwhile, was a front-runner to earn a top seed alongside Villanova, Gonzaga and Kansas. That likely won't change given the team's body of work—and it's hard to imagine the committee punishing the Tar Heels too much for losing to a tough Duke team in the ACC semifinals—but the door has remained ajar for UCLA or Oregon to perhaps nab a No. 1 seed if it wins the Pac-12 tournament.

Postgame Reaction

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: (L-R) Javin DeLaurier #12, Jayson Tatum #0, Grayson Allen #3 and Antonio Vrankovic #30 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrate following their 93-83 victory against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the semifinals of the ACC Basketbal
Lance King/Getty Images

After the game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had nothing but praise for his team.

"Our guys made remarkable plays. It was a terrific win," he said, per Duke Basketball. "For us to get a chance to play for an ACC championship is a huge honor."

He added"People said we were slumping or whatever. I saw us getting better and better. I love my team."

Certainly, the Blue Devils have shown resiliency in the ACC tournament, posting two comebacks in a row. But Amile Jefferson never doubted.

"I said the same thing yesterday. Down 12 then. Thirteen today. We have a whole lot of belief in our locker room," he said.

Roy Williams sang a different tune in defeat, meanwhile.

"Congrats to Duke," he said, per the David Glenn Show. "The better-coached team won. The team with more focus, intensity and discipline won. I didn't do as good a job as [Krzyzewski] did."

North Carolina still has a regular season title, of course. And for the Tar Heels, all that matters now is finishing the season with a national championship.

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