CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — North Carolina's offense rolled along for most of the second half, staying shot-for-shot with Duke in a tight game. Then the turnovers happened, along with a few mental mistakes.
The Tar Heels committed 11 second-half turnovers, though one sequence of three straight proved to be just enough to put the third-ranked Blue Devils in control on the way to an 84-77 road win Saturday night.
"We rushed a couple shots," UNC guard Marcus Paige said. "A couple passes got a little errant, and they capitalized on every single one of those."
The small mistakes added up. There were a few bad shots. There was a 10-second violation when the team got caught flat-footed against Duke's fullcourt pressure.
In a close game, Duke was all too happy to convert those into scores.
"You have to understand when you play Duke, if they hit a 3 or they get some momentum going, they're a team that goes on spurts," Paige said. "They feed off each other's shots."
Duke freshman Tyus Jones scored 17 of his season-high 24 points in the second half to help the Blue Devils shoot 59 percent after the break.
Quinn Cook added 20 points for Duke (28-3, 15-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), which won its 11th straight game.
The latest renewal of the fierce rivalry was a competitive fight throughout, with UNC (21-10, 11-7) shooting 58 percent after halftime but unable to catch up once Duke finally got the game turned with about 6½ minutes left.
Paige matched his season high with 23 points and hit five 3-pointers to lead the Tar Heels. Brice Johnson added 17.
The Tar Heels had let one get away in the first meeting at Cameron Indoor Stadium, blowing a 10-point lead in the final 4 minutes of regulation before falling 92-90 in overtime. Paige had said that raised the stakes even more for his team, only to see Jones take over late Saturday just as he did in the first meeting.
Duke shot miserably to start the game, trailed 33-31 at halftime and faced a seven-point deficit with about 14 minutes left. But a 14-2 run erased the deficit, then Jones hit a 3 after a UNC turnover to start the key sequence.
Jones then fed Cook for another 3 on the next possession — again, after a turnover — to suddenly give Duke a 68-59 lead with less than 6Â½ minutes left.
The Tar Heels got as close as five in the final stages.
Duke: Jones finished with six rebounds and seven assists while hitting all 12 of his free throws. ... Duke went nearly 10 minutes between baskets at one point in the first half and shot 33 percent before the break but scored 53 second-half points. ... Duke went 9 for 25 from 3-point range.
The Tar Heels again did a solid job defending star freshman big man Jahlil Okafor, who finished with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting. He had 12 points in the first meeting while playing through an ankle injury.
The teams had another moment of pregame rivalry respect.
After gathering together at midcourt to honor the late Dean Smith before the first meeting, UNC honored Krzyzewski for reaching 1,000 career wins this season. There were a few early boos that were quickly drowned out by cheers and applause for Krzyzewski at midcourt, something Williams had said Friday he hoped the crowd would do.
"What happened in Durham and what happened here were great examples of (how) an intense rivalry should have intense respect," Krzyzewski said.
Things got a little chippy when Duke freshman Justise Winslow was called for an offensive foul late in the first half with a karate-style kick to Johnson's midsection on a drive. Then, early in the second half, he picked up a flagrant foul when he tripped Jackson during a scramble for a rebound.
Duke: begins play in the ACC tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
UNC: begins play in the ACC tournament second round Wednesday.
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