No. 2 Duke vs. North Carolina final score: Blue Devils avoid upset, win 73-68

Streeter Lecka

North Carolina hung tough against Duke with the Cameron Crazies going nuts. In the end, though, the Blue Devils' edge in size and experience proved to be too much down the stretch.

The rivalry between Duke and North Carolina is one that is historically unmatched in the college basketball record books. On Wednesday night, the two programs gave us yet another great showdown on Tobacco Road.

In the end, No. 2 Duke came out on top, winning by a score of 73-68.

North Carolina had all the answers for the first 25 minutes. Every time the Blue Devils would try and cut the deficit, UNC would answer. Then the wheels fell off for the young Tar Heels.

Duke caught on fire from behind the three-point arc, going on a 23-9 run midway through the half. The two schools traded punches down the stretch, but the Blue Devils were just too experienced and deep for Roy Williams' bunch.

Mason Plumlee had to deal with foul trouble for most of the night, but he still managed to lead Duke with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Quinn Cook chipped in with 18 points, six boards and four steals, while Rasheed Sulaimon had 13 points and five assists.

As a team, Duke turned the ball over 17 times, but made up for it by shooting 44.6 percent from the field and going 17-for-20 from the free throw line.

North Carolina rode strong performances from P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland to carry them on the offensive end. Hairston had a team-high 23 points, while Bullock and Strickland had 15 and 14, respectively.

Next up for Duke is a big road test against Maryland on Saturday night. North Carolina will look to get back on track against Virginia in a battle of two teams squarely on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.

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