Chapel Hill, NC, United States (4E Sports) – Leslie McDonald scored 21 points while Marcus Paige recovered from a scoreless first half as North Carolina used a strong second half en route to a 74-66 upset victory over No. 5 Duke Thursday at Dean E. Smith Center.
Paige finished with 13 points while James Michael McAdoo added 10 as the Tar Heels (19-7) stormed to their eighth straight ACC win to improve their conference record to 9-4.
The Tar Heels’ eight-game winning streak is their longest since a nine-game winning run in 2011-12.
The game was originally scheduled last Wednesday was postponed due to wintry weather in North Carolina.
Jabari Parker recorded another double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Quinn Cook added 17 while Rodney Hood had 16 but their efforts weren’t enough as the Blue Devils (21-6, 10-4 ACC) saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
It was a sorry loss for the Blue Devils, who led 37-30 at the break and 51-40 five minutes into the second half.
However, the Tar Heels stepped up on defense to force Duke to take outside shots rather than penetrate.
After a driving layup by Parker with 15:07 left in regulation, the Blue Devils did not make a field goal until Quinn Cook’s layup with 6:25 remaining.
The Heels tied the game at 60 on a layup by McAdoo with 4:23 left in regulation, then took the lead 62-60 on a jumper by McDonald. Paige then added a 15-footer as the Tar Heels never trailed from there.
After Parker made two foul shots to cut the lead to 64-62, the Tar Heels closed the game with a 10-4 run, including foul free throws by Nate Britt, to seal the victory.