UNC Basketball: Tar Heels lose heartbreaker in ACC semifinal

Annette Crawford
March 16, 2019

Phil Cofer had 11 points and 7-foot-3 center Christ Koumadje added nine points and nine rebounds for the Seminoles, who will play the victor of No. 3 North Carolina/No. 5 Duke on Saturday night.

"It was tough watching the first two games", Williamson said after the game. I'm not going to say he's better than them, but he's a different player. "The rivalry lived up to what it was expected to be". And Duke has won 13 of the previous 22 games. Duke trailed by 13 points in the second half but rallied behind Jayson Tatum (24 points) and Luke Kennard (20) for a sixth straight win over UNC in the tournament.

Williamson benefitted greatly by Garrison Brooks's second-half foul troubles. When he returned at the under-four timeout, Duke immediately fed Williamson in the post. "(Barrett) and Zion weren't as exhausted", said Krzyzewski, noting Duke's greatest flaw without Williamson for those six games, "because they were ... instead of giving energy to a teammate, they were getting energy from a teammate".

Rick Fox, the tournament MVP, had 25 points as the Tar Heels blew out the Blue Devils in the title game. Duke started a mere 3-for-10 and missed its first seven triples while the Tar Heels drained nine of their first 16 shot attempts and took control of the pace, but the Blue Devils fought their way back into it with a quick 10-1 run and tied it on a Williamson 3-pointer in the final minute.

The most fascinating one is this: If Duke wins, could the ACC wind up with three No. 1 seeds?

After freshman RJ Barrett missed two free throws with 12.4 seconds left, UNC pushed downcourt for a final possession.

The Florida State men's basketball team, which was blown out by the No. 2 Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Va., at the start of ACC play, showed just how far it has come Friday night in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Tre Jones was the only other Blue Devil with double-digit points, and he had 11. Duke, while obviously much better with Williamson, was clearly one of the country's best teams without him, too. "There's no one really like him", Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game.

Jerome's personal misfortunes continued in the same building, Spectrum Center, where Virginia last season became the first No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed following a stunning upset by Maryland-Baltimore County, 74-54. It would seem Virginia and Duke have locked up half the top seeds, with UNC, Gonzaga, Kentucky and Michigan State all vying for the final two.

The Tar Heels shot less than 40 percent for the game, and connected on just 4-of-27 shots from downtown for a meager 14.8 percent. "We've got six more games, hopefully". The risk of losing to the rival in the national championship and living under the eternal trump card outweighs the reward of winning it.

Or perhaps the first two games against UNC without Williamson still carry weight with the committee.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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