Bitter parting gift for Coach K as UNC beats Duke 94-81
March 6, 2022
The Tar Heels were not supposed to beat the Blue Devils, who played their last game under Mike Krzyzewski before he retires at the end of the season.
In front of a raucous crowd of over 80 Duke alumni, the Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devils with a final score of 94-81.
After trailing by a couple of points at halftime, the Tar Heels came out and dominated the second half with a huge offensive performance.
Armando Bacot, who is expected to be the ACC's Player of the Year, led the team with a game-high 23 points. He was also able to dish out seven assists and steal two Duke's possessions.
Caleb Love had an outstanding shooting night, finishing with a total of 22 points, but he was able to hit all 12 of his free throws in the second half. His teammate, R.J. Davis, had a sensational game, finishing with 21 points and four assists. Brady Manek had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 20 points for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina could shoot a high percentage from three-point range and at the free-throw line. The Tar Heels also dominated the rebounding department with a 37-34 advantage.
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 23-8 overall and 15-5 on conference play. North Carolina also earned the 3-seed double-bye for next week's ACC Tournament.
Not so sweet parting gift for Coach K
Aside from the coaches, prominent individuals from the NBA and other sports attended the game to send Krzyzewski off. Some of them included Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Silver, Dirk Nowitzki, Kyler Murray, and Ken Jeong.
Before the match started, the Blue Devils played a tribute video was showing Krzyzewski entering a tunnel full of his former players.
Unfortunately for Krzyzewski and the fans who paid for the tickets, the Tar Heels could pull an upset and defeat the Blue Devils.
The defense that Krzyzewski has built over the years could not contain the Tar Heels during the second half. The Tar Heels were able to score on 11 of their final 13 possessions.
Krzyzewski apologized to the crowd and the players during a postgame ceremony for the defeat. He also said that the season has been a good ride for the team.
"I'm sorry about this afternoon," Coach K said. "Today was unacceptable, but the season has been very acceptable. And the season isn't over."
Paolo Banchero led the Blue Devils with 23 points. However, he only managed to score eight second-half points. Mark Williams had a strong game for Duke, scoring 16 points and hauling in 13 rebounds. Jeremy Roach also contributed 15 points for the Blue Devils.
Despite shooting a high percentage from the field, Duke committed more turnovers than the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils were also called for more personal fouls.
Following the game, the entire Duke team returned to the court, where they greeted their coach and his wife, Mickie.
The crowd did not accept Krzyzewski's apology. Instead, it continued to celebrate the accomplishments of the team and the coach throughout the years.
"It's hard for me to believe this is over. So I'm just going to say the regular season's over," one of the best college basketball coaches said.