No. 6 UNC Tops No. 4 Duke 88-70 For ACC Title

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Kendall Marshall felt dissed by Duke. The Blue Devils played the highlights of their last-second win over North Carolina on the video scoreboard and Marshall didn't like it, so he brought his Tar Heels into a quick huddle.

"I told my teammates I thought that was disrespectful, and we need to go out here and prove a point," Marshall said.

Did they ever.

North Carolina never trailed in an 88-70 rout of No. 4 Duke on Saturday night, claiming the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title behind 20 points and 10 assists from its motivated point guard.

"It left a bad taste in our mouths," Marshall said, "and we wanted to be able to come out and play well today."

Tyler Zeller had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Harrison Barnes added 16 points for the Tar Heels (27-4, 14-2). For the second straight year, they rolled in a winner-take-all season finale with the ACC tournament's top seed -- and possibly one in the NCAA tournament, too -- on the line.

"My team's had some bounce-back to them all year long," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We go down to Florida State and lose by 3 million and everybody's jumping off the bandwagon ... but our team kept playing. We lose to Duke and everybody's got a great opinion of how stupid we are ... (and) my team kept playing."

North Carolina shot 54.5 percent, built a 45-28 rebounding advantage and sent Duke to its deepest halftime deficit ever at Cameron Indoor Stadium -- 24 points -- while winning its seventh straight since last month's loss to the Blue Devils.

Mason Plumlee had 17 points, and brother Miles Plumlee added 16 points and 11 rebounds in his final home game for the Blue Devils (26-5, 13-3). Freshman guard Austin Rivers -- the hero of that last meeting -- had 15 points.

But Duke -- which erased a 10-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes to win the first matchup, then rallied from 20 down in the second half to beat North Carolina State -- couldn't come up with another improbable escape and instead had its seven-game winning streak snapped.

"Throughout the year, we've been immature. We always want to see how little we have to do to win," Miles Plumlee said. "You give a team like that a 20-point lead, it's nearly impossible to win. We need to fight, like we did at times, for a whole game."

Duke was trying for its second regular-season sweep of North Carolina in three years, after the Blue Devils won the dramatic first meeting in Chapel Hill. They hit 14 3-pointers in that game -- none bigger than Rivers' buzzer-beater that punctuated the 85-84 win.

For too long in this one, those shots didn't fall.

The perimeter-reliant Blue Devils finished 6 of 21 from 3-point range. They missed 15 consecutive shots, including their first seven 3s, and had two 7-minute field goal droughts in the opening half. That left them down 48-24 at the break -- their largest halftime deficit anywhere since the 1990 team trailed the Tar Heels by 24 in Chapel Hill.

"When you base, like we do, a lot of our offense on 3-point shooting ... some will say, `Don't.' That's who we are, man," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "And if we're not hitting them, we have a much greater chance to lose."

The closest they got in the second half was 75-64 on Miles Plumlee's free throw with 6:01 left. But Seth Curry missed an open 3-pointer roughly 30 seconds later that would have brought down the house.

Instead, Marshall hit a 19-footer with 4 minutes left, James Michael McAdoo added a layup and Barnes swished a deep 3 to stretch it to 82-64 with 2 minutes to play.

For Zeller, it was a welcome catharsis after his late-game struggles in the previous meeting. Back then, he accidentally batted a ball into the Duke basket and missed two free throws in the final minute before Rivers hit that last 3 over him.

Those noisy Cameron Crazies persistently reminded him of it, chanting "Tyler Zeller, MVP" at him during pregame warmups. "Yeah, I heard it all," Zeller said.

And the North Carolina big man got the last laugh, making his final trip to Cameron one to remember by hitting nine of his 11 shots before fouling out in the final minute. Only when he and John Henson got in foul trouble did the Tar Heels' offense really bog down.

Henson had 13 points and 10 rebounds, giving the Tar Heels three players with double-doubles -- the first time they've done that since 2003 -- while Reggie Bullock added 12 points.

Curry finished with 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting for Duke.

Among the famous faces in the crowd were NFL players Peyton Manning -- who has been throwing on campus under the tutelage of his college offensive coordinator, Duke coach David Cutcliffe. Manning sat next to Cutcliffe in a courtside seat under the basket the Blue Devils defended in the first half.

Those two saw plenty of early action -- all by the Tar Heels.

North Carolina once again raced out to a quick double-figure lead, this time riding an 18-1 run in which it converted nearly every shot it took in the paint. That lead grew throughout the half, with Marshall's jumper with 3 seconds left stretching it to 48-24 at the break.

"We were just kind of overwhelmed, by them and the situation," Krzyzewski said. "It's like a surprise gift, you know? You open it up, and for the most part, it's been a nice surprise. I never have any idea of what's inside the present. And today there was nothing. It was an empty box."

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  • by Kim Location: Williamston on Mar 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM
    I am a Duke Fan but I was embarrassed by this slaughter. I have several questions. I know the shots were not falling for the Dukies, but why didn't Dawkins play more? Why didn't Mike take time outs when I felt they were necessary. I hate it for them especially for Miles and Mason because of Senior night. Also for Thorton who I feel has really done a good job this year. I am not one of those Duke fans that boast when we beat UNC, but I can definately say, and I hate to admit it, but UNC was the better team this time. Unsure what Coach K was thinking.
  • by Anonymous Location: farmville on Mar 6, 2012 at 07:55 AM
    Where are you from, do you know how much it cost to go to carolina? Thats why they can afford a bigger and better stadium than Duke, right? Whatever!
  • by UNC baby Location: farmville on Mar 5, 2012 at 07:40 AM
    It's so funny, when Duke beat carolina by one point, all the duke fans were up here just bragging and they acted like they won the NCAA when Austin hit that 3, and carolina gave Duke a beat down and they just walked off the court proud and not throwing it in everyone's face. But where are the Duke fans now? I am not one to run my mouth and brag and i said it last time when Duke won, they are both great teams! But i just had to say something this time because a lot of people can dish it out but they can't take it. I am proud of my tarheels for being very classy about their big win. Roy Williams has done a great job teaching his boys how to play ball and be classy. And I can't say it was a good game, because it was actually a blow out. But you did a good job trying to come back Duke! Can't wait for the tournament! And if Duke wins, there will be 1,000 comments up here about how they beat Carolina! But watching Duke and Carolina play is always fun!
  • by Keith Location: Farmville on Mar 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM
    I love it!!!
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:48 AM
    My coworker was shopping in the mall with her mom a while back in Durham. She said they seen Coach K in there and some little kid ran up to him and asked for his autograph. Coach K told the kid to get out of his face and that he wasn't signing anything. What a Jerk he is. I have no respect for that creep.
    • reply
      by Cboy on Mar 4, 2012 at 03:02 PM in reply to Lavon
      Really Lavon?? I think we all know who the jerk is.
    • reply
      by John on Mar 5, 2012 at 06:08 AM in reply to Lavon
      I ran into Coach K in public once. I asked for an autograph from him and had no problem whatsoever.
      • reply
        by Same here on Mar 5, 2012 at 09:36 AM in reply to John
        I met the guy. A very nice man.
  • by xraytakr on Mar 4, 2012 at 08:14 AM
    Unc>Duke..........think Im gona join that bandwagon.
  • by Pir8 on Mar 4, 2012 at 08:08 AM
    Dont like either team but respect the rivalry. Coack K = class act win or lose.
    • reply
      by Cliff on Mar 5, 2012 at 09:39 AM in reply to Pir8
      Same Here!!! I'm A NC State Fan But You Gotta Respect Both Coach K And Roy Williams, Both Class Acts!!!!
  • by I wish it could have on Mar 4, 2012 at 07:18 AM
    been a better game... Duke was not much competition... Cameron is not that great either..... Blow out city, Baby........
  • by bs on Mar 4, 2012 at 02:05 AM
    18 pts sounds like payback for that one point sneak attack. boys went up there and threw them dukies a beating.
  • by Training Camp on Mar 3, 2012 at 11:44 PM
    Several of these players are going to go on to the NBA and hold out for more money.
    • reply
      by NBA on Mar 4, 2012 at 08:44 AM in reply to Training Camp
      Rookies don't 'hold out' in the NBA. All the salaries are slotted ahead of time. Before they even come out they know how much they will make according to where they get drafted.
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