DURHAM, N.C. – Duke men’s basketball and coach Jon Scheyer drew first blood against North Carolina as the storied rivalry began its next chapter without Mike Krzyzewski.
Saturday’s 63-57 win gave Scheyer his first career win over the Tar Heels and offered a slight reprieve from the angst of last year’s losses in the national semifinal and Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Jeremy Roach, the lone starter returning from last year’s Duke team, dealt the final blow, scoring the final four points in the win.
It was the first time since 1957 that neither Dean Smith nor Mike Krzyzewski roamed the sidelines of this rivalry. But this game always seems to deliver.
Fiery First Half
The first half gave us a little of everything: A back-and-forth battle fitting of the rivalry, exciting transition buckets, blocked shots, dunks and even one fainting Cameron Crazie who stopped play with 8:33 remaining.
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Duke led 33-32 at the half behind 10 points from Roach and nine from Tyrese Proctor, who added three assists and two steals. Armando Bacot had 12 points for the Tar Heels as UNC took a 19-12 lead in the opening 10 minutes. Duke countered with a 9-0 run for a 26-24 lead with 3:52 left in the half.
Proctor scored the last five points for Duke to hold on for a one-point lead. Dereck Lively had four blocks in the first half as the Blue Devils outscored UNC 16-0 in fast break points. Lively would add four more blocks in the second half, a rivalry record for any Duke player.
Duke-UNC always brings local celebrities to the arena, and Saturday was no different. The Blue Devils had 18 former players attend the game, including 2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, who came and sat with the student section in the first half.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper made an appearance at Cameron as well as UNC quarterback Drake Maye and former Tar Heels QB Sam Howell.
The Blue Devils will have a quick turnaround this week, traveling to Florida for a Monday matchup against No. 21 Miami. They’ll stay on the road for their next game against No. 4 Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Duke defeated the Hurricanes 68-66 on Jan. 21 and will face the Cavaliers for the first time this season.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Duke beats North Carolina in first game since Coach K’s retirement