The No. 7-ranked Blue Devils overcame a late 13-point deficit and hit not one, but two buzzer-beating shots to stun the arch-rival Tar Heels, 98-96 in overtime.
Trailing 84-82 with 4.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Duke sophomore guard Tre Jones intentionally missed a free throw by firing it off the rim, got the rebound and managed to get off a jumper that beat the buzzer and sent the game into overtime.
Jones stepped to the free-throw line again with 6.6 seconds left in overtime and Duke trailing 96-95. After hitting the first free-throw to tie the game, Jones missed the second but the ball was tapped out and rebounded by Duke. Jones got the ball once more and attempted a shot that came up short but ended up in the hands of his teammate Wendell Moore Jr. underneath the basket for a put-back buzzer-beater.
Jones, who led the way for the Blue Devils with 28 points and six assists, spoke after the game about the resolve the team showed to get the huge comeback win.
“We didn’t have our best game tonight, but we continued to fight until the clock hit zero,” Jones said on ESPN following the thriller. “It took that entire time for us to get the win tonight. The way we’re able to fight, we were down double digits late in the game, didn’t show any weaknesses, everyone was still strong, continue to fight, coaches believed in us, we just got it done.”
UNC, who held a 75-62 lead with 4:43 left in regulation, as well as a nine-point lead with two minutes to play, was plagued by poor free-throw shooting (21-of-38) that allowed Duke to make a late charge.
With the loss, UNC dropped to 10-13 on the season and 3-9 in the ACC Conference. Although they have fallen on tough times this year, the Tar Heels fought hard on Saturday, dominating most of the game against the 7th-ranked Blue Devils. UNC only trailed for 1:47 of the entire game.
Saturday night’s game marked the 100th anniversary of the classic Duke-UNC Tobacco Road rivalry. The two teams wore special jerseys to commemorate the first game played between the two teams on Jan. 24, 1920.