In the third installment of the Duke-UNC rivalry this season, Zion Williamson’s presence made a major difference as he willed home a game-winner with 30 seconds left. Going for 31 points and 11 rebounds along with his typical efficient shooting, Williamson scored nearly half of Duke’s points on the night and would simply not let the Blue Devils drop a third straight game against their arch rival Tar Heels.
Outside of an early UNC run that saw them take a 12 point lead midway through the first half, the game was extremely close throughout as Duke clawed their way back and the two teams traded buckets down the stretch. With the win, Duke moves on to the ACC tournament finals against the scorching hot FSU Seminoles.
Watch Duke’s Zion Williamson’s Game-Winner Against UNC
Scoring four of Duke’s last five baskets, Zion Williamson was the deciding factor down the stretch and put the Blue Devils on his back in the last ten minutes of the game. After notoriously blowing out his shoe leading to a knee injury in the first matchup, Williamson was unable to play in either of Duke’s two meetings with UNC. Visibly angry after the second defeat, Zion came out even more aggressive than his usual dominant self and put on a clinic against the national title contender Tar Heels.
Outside of Williamson and his efficient 13-19 outing from the field, the Blue Devils were mostly inconsistent shooting the ball. Tre Jones and RJ Barrett struggled mightily from the field in particular but the defensive presence of Williamson did wonders in helping stem the potent UNC offense, keeping the game close throughout.
Duke Blue Devils ACC Tournament Championship Preview
Duke surprisingly gets to face the FSU Seminoles in the ACC Tournament championship. The Seminoles pulled off a major upset against UVA and finally looked like the team that many analysts had pegged as a preseason top 25. Although Duke matches up well against FSU, the Seminole’s momentum cannot be denied and Duke should have their hands full with a talented and hungry opponent.
While Florida State’s starting unit against UVA wasn’t exceptional in the win, they were efficient enough and got incredible production from their bench. Heading up against Duke in the championship, they’ll need a similar combination of offensive efficiency from the starters to go with big runs from the bench unit to keep themselves competitive against the most talented team in the nation.
Duke proved in their win tonight that they can have relatively poor nights from everyone on the roster and as long as Zion feels like going beast mode, there really isn’t a team in the nation that can stop Duke. Williamson feels like he is on his revenge tour right now and I don’t expect him to ease up in the ACC Championship. FSU is a long and athletic team capable of causing problems on defense, but Zion Williamson possesses elite NBA level strength already and should be able to bully his way in the paint despite the defensive prowess of FSU.
Look for Duke to clinch a tournament bid (as if that wasn’t already happening) en route to a resounding win over the red-hot Seminoles.