March 18, 2018

T25-ACC-North Carolina-Duke,2nd Ld-Writethru

10 March 2018, 11:10 | Randolph Howard

Cameron Johnson , The Canadian Press

Cameron Johnson

The Tar Heels will be looking for their 19th ACC Tournament title with their last one coming in that 2016 meeting, a 61-57 win over the Cavaliers in Washington D.C.

Duke nipped second-seeded Georgia Tech 68-67 in a classic final that saw tourney MVP Johnny Dawkins score 20 points and fellow senior Mark Alarie add 17.

This Atlantic Coast Conference tournament has been a philosophical argument as much as a physical one, pitting just-passing-through juveniles against veterans.

"It's unusual there", Williams said when asked about how Duke and Carolina have changed identities this season.

The Tar Heels then finished with a flourish and grabbed the halftime lead when Johnson was fouled by Walker while getting off a 60-foot heave to beat the first-half buzzer. Although Duke eventually dug out of that double-digit hole to go in front 27-26 later in the half, its lead only lasted 18 seconds.

Just in case the Tar Heels needed a reminder, their coach spelled it out for them in big blue letters on a dry erase board in the locker room: Bring our Brain Tomorrow.

Marvin Bagley III had 33 points and 17 rebounds, Grayson Allen made his first five 3-pointers and Duke rolled to an 88-70 victory over Notre Dame.

"Overall, they've gotten better", Krzyzewski said. Conversely, Duke had eight turnovers and was out-rebounded by the Tar Heels 44-38. "We can't assume that we have an extra day because one loss and we're back home and we don't get to come back, practice a little bit more, come back and play in this tournament again".

Brooks went down hard and stayed down in the backcourt as North Carolina scored. By losing the last two regular-season games, North Carolina slipped out of double-bye position in the ACC standings to the sixth seed. Allen smirked while referees reviewed the play on a courtside monitor.

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Clemson got within four with 13.4 seconds left, but Devon Hall hit two free throws and Reed missed two shots at the other end as Virginia closed it out.

"They got a fast break and I bumped him and fouled him", Allen said during the postgame news conference. "Everybody likes talent, and I do, too", Williams said.

Junior guard Kenny Williams even out-Duked Duke in a key moment in the second half while the Blue Devils were making their run. He's 9-for-34 and 3-for-20 on 3-pointers in his last three games.

Virginia: The school's ninth appearance in the ACC championship game.

"We've bene through it all, they've definitely been through it all", reserve Shea Rush said.

As North Carolina tried to work the clock with a big lead, the Tar Heels forced a quick shot that had Williams trying to rip his suit jacket on the sideline.

There are higher stakes for the rubber match: The victor will advance to the ACC tournament championship game, a common sight for ACC and basketball fans alike.

"They are the No. 1 team unanimously, and they beat us by 77 points or whatever it was", Roy Williams said.

During their last five games, the Blue Devils have scored an average of 73.4 points per game (11.8 below their season average) and allowed an average of 59.6 points per game (9.9 below their season average).

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