Two teams that combine for 11 national championships squared off as Duke took on North Carolina in the second matchup of the Final Four.
North Carolina Ends Duke’s Run in Final Four
A Historic Night
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has become the biggest story in the tournament to most. Despite an epic Cinderella run from St. Peter’s, Coach K’s final run as the Blue Devil’s head man has taken us to the tournament’s final weekend. To make this occasion even sweeter to some sports historians, coach Hubert Davis and his North Carolina Tar Heels ended St. Peter’s miracle run. This set the stage for a Final Four matchup for the ages.
The first half was a tense and tightly contested 20 minutes. Both teams shot poorly from deep. Duke shot 2-12 and UNC shot 3-13 as neither team could find their rhythm from deep. Duke looked to star Paolo Banchero, who led the team with 10 points and six rebounds in the first half. The Tar Heels followed RJ Davis’s lead as he paced the team with 14 points before the break. Duke’s second unit outscored UNC’s bench 14-0 as the Blue Devils took a 37-34 lead into the break.
The second half started with a big run from North Carolina, who took the lead behind Caleb Love’s impressive offensive output. Duke bounced back to tie the game at 55 halfway through the second. Both teams battled as this game saw over 17 lead changes heading into the final minutes. UNC was seeming dealt a crucial blow when Armando Bacot, who has had a double-double in every game so far this tournament, rolled his ankle with about five minutes left in the game. This unfortunate injury caused the Tar Heels to make their first substitution of the second half. The big man made a triumphant return a few minutes later, securing his 20th rebound of the game. He would finish the game with 11 points and 21 rebounds.
North Carolina pulled out the win late behind a deep three from Love. They will face Kansas in yet another historic matchup in Monday night’s championship game.
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